By: Mary Fran Bontempo

MP900285144(1)As if there weren’t a large enough cacophony of voices willing to speak up when I’m on the wrong track, a new one has added her opinion to the fray.

My car.

Yes, my new Chevy Malibu has decided to join with the legion of others all too willing to correct me when I’m wrong.

It’s been a long time since the Bontempos have owned a new car. Ten years to be exact. In that ten years, cell phones and cell phone technology have become de rigeur, which means that my new car can sync to my phone via Bluetooth and allow me to make and receive calls hands-free, keeping my eyes firmly on the road, where they should be.

Unfortunately, though, the body-less witch in my car does not speak the same language as I do. According to all the settings, we’re both supposed to be speaking English, but it seems my version doesn’t compute with hers.

“Okay,” I said to my husband, Dave, as we headed out of town for a night, “let’s try and call Megan and see if this thing works.” (I’m the technological guru between the two of us, which should let you know how this is going to go.)

“Give it a try,” he said.

I pushed the requisite button. “Bluetooth,” I directed.

“Bluetooth ready,” the deceptively accommodating voice responded.

“Call Megan,” I said.

“No contact found,” the car lady answered. “Please say contact name or number.”

“Fine,” I said, “278-634-333x,”

“278-634-333×2. Is that correct?”

“No!” I said. “The number is 278-634-333x.”

“278-634-333×4. Is that correct?”

“No, damn it! It’s 278-634-333x! What the hell is wrong with you?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t understand you. Shall I call 278-634-333×4?”

“Aaaaaahhhhhh! No! That’s not the right number, you idiot! What phone number has eleven digits?” I shrieked.

“I’m sorry. Say the number you would like to call,” the unflappable wench replied.

“Forget it! Just forget it!” I yelled, punching the disconnect button.

“Call ended. Goodbye.”

“Oh my god. That was ridiculous!” I huffed. “I thought the whole syncing thing was supposed to make it easier and less distracting to make a call from the car. That was more stressful than being stuck in a traffic jam at rush hour. What’s the point of the hands-free technology if it just makes you want to use your free hands to strangle the woman who’s telling you she can’t understand you?”

Dave sat smirking in the driver’s seat.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“I was kind of waiting for her to verbally flip you off,” he replied. “Actually, I think I would have paid extra for that.”

I snorted. “I guess it was kind of funny,” I said. “But from now on, I think I’ll just wait to make a phone call until I’m out of the car.”

If I want to be told I’m not making any sense, my kids, my mom and my husband are only too ready to oblige. My car’s opinion I can do without.

What’s your experience been with car phone technology? Click “comments” below and share!