Things that make you go [beep]

Posted on July 7, 2010

Further to my post of a few months ago when I swore that I would never, ever, again buy an appliance that beeped, pinged or buzzed at me, I’ve only gone and done it again. And this time, it’s not just an over-eager microwave that wants me to ‘get on with it’ or a world-weary fridge that just wants me to shut the door. Oh no. This time it’s larger. Much larger.

And it talks.

As discussed, now that the World’s Most Boring Car is doing burn-outs in Heaven, I have a new vehicle. Which I reverse-parked for the first time, last Friday, highlighting my lack of spatial awareness. So far, so not-new.

What I failed to mention, however, was that said new car talks to me. Not in an ‘I see Dead People’ kind of way. Not even in a useful ‘At the next roundabout, turn right’ kind of way. She nags. And becomes insistent. And then, as the final straw, beeps wildly.

Her name is Theresa (the car is green and so Mr6 named it Theresa Green after his favourite knock-knock joke – email me if you need me to take you through it). And she is the voice of the Reversing Sensor.

I first met Theresa on day one of driving the new car. I was reversing out the driveway, not a vehicle, jumping gate, person or telegraph pole in sight, when she suddenly spoke, loudly, with one of those mid-Atlantic accents, right above Mr3’s head. “One Point Five Metres,” she said, with authority and a small amount of beeping.

I stopped. The boys and I had an animated discussion about this crazy lady speaking from nowhere, and I double-checked to see what was behind me.

There was nothing.

I continued. “One Metre,” she said, beginning to sound alarmed, warning beep buzzing faster and louder. If I was calm before this began, my heart was now beginning to beat faster.

I looked again.


I proceeded out onto the road. “Point Six Metres,” she shrieked at me, alarm sounding wildly, kids and I all freaking out trying to work out what the hell she was on about.

We didn’t hit anything.

We drove off.

She shut up.

When I discussed this small moment of excitement with The Builder that evening, he quickly worked out that Theresa was angled down as we reversed and was sensing the road. Helpful that.

So now I not only have two ever-talking, ever-bickering, never-quiet boys in the back seat to keep me company when I drive the mean streets of Fibrotown. I have Theresa. Who has something to say about a lot of things.

You should have heard her going off when I tried that reverse park the other night – “Three Metres,” she shrieked, not even bothering to remain calm. Or perhaps it’s all in my perception. It’s hard to pick up on tonal differences in a mechanical voice when you’re exercising your creaky spatial muscles.

When I was a kid, I wanted a car that talked, like KITT from the KnightRider. Be careful what you wish for.


  1. Lucy

    I have to add to this – our sat nav lady (she has no name, me and the kids just call her “the lady”) has mixed popularity. I can’t stand the bitch myself, and scream at her to shut the beep up. The kids, apparently, love her. They are ALWAYS asking me to “turn the lady on Mummy, please?” (Which sounds just so wrong, in itself…)

    When I asked them WHY they like “the lady” so much, they tell me “we like hearing you shout mean things at her Mummy, you are funny when you screech at her…..”


  2. Seraphim

    I am thankful i don’t have one of these in my car. BUT whenever I use my tomtom (rarely) I have it switched to giving directions in an Irish accent. Brings my stress levels down immediately!

  3. Anonymous

    What’s worse than the annoying voice of a Sat Nav…. Getting lost in Sydney and having a little voice in the back seat then telling you that you should have turned left ages ago…. because she remembered the correct turn off to Westmead Childrens Hospital (at the age of 8) and I didn’t. Now 15 and still goes on an on about how mum got lost and she had to rescue us!!!! Jo

  4. Megan

    Oh, how annoying! (but beautifully and hilariously written as always)

    That’s like me with GPS thingies – they tell you several times to turn and I always yell at them – “I KNOW. I’M TURNING ALL RIGHT. SHUT UP!” Anyone in the car with me gets a bit scared I think.

  5. allison tait

    @Maxabella – Tis true. You can imagine the sense of calm in the car with hysterical beeping going on, can’t you?

    @Lucy – I think Theresa and The Captivator may be a match made in heaven.

  6. Maxabella

    Too funny. Only you would end up with a car that panics when it senses the road…

  7. Deer Baby

    Very funny – can imagine her shrieking right now. Three Metres!! Hilarious. Can you switch it off?

    Ours is called Mandy – well it’s the voice of the satnav rather than anything inbuilt like a reversing sensor. We had a choice of voices – an american male drawl or a prim schoolmarm type or Mandy. She’s always leading us astray.

    That line about ‘I see dead people’ reminds me of the time when we watched The Sixth Sense. My husband knew there was a big plot twist coming up at the end. He watched the whole film and was perhaps the only person to think that it was the boy who was dead all along and not Bruce Willis.

  8. Lucy

    Ahhaaha! The Captivator has one too. SHITS ME TO TEARS. Our drive is on a steep rise, so reversing up the drive (once, twice, three times a day…) the effing frantic beepiness gets hysterical at the idea that we may “hit” our own driveway. FFS……….

  9. Tricia Rose

    Take evil pleasure in going your own way, and thwarting her. Mwaahaha!

  10. PinkPatentMaryJanes

    Holy dooley, mine just beeps – I don’t think I’d like to be bossed about by a car. We’re fighting over our car’s name at the moment – husband and I put our hand up for Audrey {Hepburn, Tatou, all the greats} while 10-year-old’s opting for Alexandra {presumably the female equivalent of the great}…

    Good luck with getting the scoop on the poop.

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