Friday night I drove to Chincoteague, Va. It was an opportunity not just to try out the GPS unit my wife just bought but also to try Mike DeBonis’ Best Crosstown Shortcut. These opportunities were soon at war.

“Recalculating…recalculating” said the GPS’ voice over and over as we brazenly ignored its attempts to get us to New York Avenue NE. After about 10 minutes, my oldest son was holding his ears and asking us to turn down the “robot lady,” who finally succumbed to DeBonis’ shortcut four blocks before South Dakota Avenue NE. Too bad for it, because the route was AMAZING. I couldn’t have crossed the District more quickly if I was a freaked-out Spotsylvania dentist hauling ass from the convention center.

Is there any way to program shortcuts into these units? Or are you stuck with the bog-standard routes, all of which seem to favor staying in traffic for a long, long time? I liked having the GPS when I was traveling, but I ended up muting it on the way home.