My life as a human GPS device, a play in one act with reconstructed dialogue:

Scene One: A family room in a modest home around 9 p.m. on a Saturday in May. A 16-year-old boy is switching between a baseball game from two years ago and "Family Guy." His father sits beside him, trying without success to get him to find a current sporting event or anything but a show that has the words "Housewives" in the title. His mother is across the room on the couch. She is under three blankets, the thermostat is set at 68, and the fire in the fireplace is blazing. She is, in her words, "freezing to death."

The phone rings. The caller ID indicates that one of the 20-year-old daughters is checking in.




"It's me. I'm lost. Don't yell."

(I decide not to offer my usual screed about using a cellphone while driving. No one ever listens, anyway.)

"Sigh. Where are you?"

"I have no idea. Can you help me?"

"Not if you have no idea where you are. Can you give me a clue?"

"OK. I was on the, like, 190, and there was like a detour, and I took it, and now I'm, like, not sure where I am."

"Where on the 190 were you?"

"I don't know."

"Which way were you going?"

"I don't know."

"Were you driving north or south?"

"I don't know."

"This is my last shot: Where were you coming from?"


"OK! Now we're getting somewhere. Did you pass the Peace Bridge?"

"I think so. (To passenger: ‘Did we pass the Peace Bridge?') We think so."

"Are there any signs you can see?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know, signs. Road signs, street signs, things of that nature."

"I don't see any. It's really dark."

"That's good. It's dark here, too. You must be in the same hemisphere."

"You're not funny."

"Am too. Listen, I can't help you if I don't have some idea where you are."

(Getting exasperated) "If I knew where I was, I wouldn't be calling you!"

"SERENITY NOW! OK. Are you in Buffalo?"

"I'm not sure."

"Where were you when you got off? Did you see an exit sign?"

"All I saw was a detour sign."

"Dear God. OK. Stay on the line, and keep driving until you see a sign."

"I think I'm near where you get your car fixed. Where is that?"

"That's on the Kenmore/city line. Can you see a big factory near you?"


"Well, if you were on the street where I get the cars fixed, you'd probably be able to see the GM plant."

"What's that?"

"Dear God. Never mind."

"Wait. I see a sign. It says JCT 324."

"OK. You're on Sheridan Drive. That's good. Now look for a sign that says 190 or 290."

"What does this say? 190 North!"

"Good. You should be able to get on there and you should see a sign very quickly that says 290. When you see 290 East, take it and you should be OK."

"OK. Wait. … This says … Wait … OK. I think I know where I am now."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. Thank you, Dad."

"You're, like, welcome."

"You're not funny."

"Am too."