Lots of people travel around the holidays, and I'm no exception. I've been driving around like crazy, and if I'm driving, that means I'm getting lost.

Luckily, my car isn't.

I have one of those navigation systems, so my car knows where it is at all times. Yesterday, when I missed the turn for I-95 and found myself in Saddle River, N.J., it told me to take two left turns and a right, which set me instantly back on track. It even located me near the rest stop, so I could go to the bathroom. I think it knew I had to go to the bathroom.

In fact, it's so smart it could probably go to the bathroom for me.

Not only that, if I press a button, my navigation system will tell me where all the other rest stops are in the neighborhood, so I have a complete array of rest-stop options. After all, I may be feeling more Joyce Kilmer than Vince Lombardi.

I love my navigation system very deeply. It's always there for me, wherever I am. It asks nothing of me, but does its job competently and professionally. It even has a cute little accent, of indeterminate origin. And though it's always right, it never says I-told-you-so.

If I could marry my navigation system, I would.

I would even vow to love, honor, and obey it. Because the only times I've gone wrong are when I haven't obeyed my navigation system. In fact, my navigation system is the only thing in the world I will ever obey.

I feel almost as good about my cell phone. For example, the other day I realized that I had forgotten the date of a doctor's appointment, but I didn't have the doctor's phone number to call the office and ask. I called 411, but they didn't have the number either, for some reason.

Luckily, my cell phone is smarter than I am.

It remembered that I had called the doctor once before and it kept the number, even though I didn't. So I called the doctor and found out that I had missed my appointment.

If my cell phone had had the appointment, it would have been there.

And now there are cell phones that not only remember your doctor's number, but even have a navigation system. Those cell phones are going to take over the world. I advise you to get one, before it gets you.

My TV is a brainiac, too. I was watching it last week, when all of a sudden a little sign came on the screen, reminding me that I had wanted to record a show that was playing on another channel. Of course, I had totally forgotten that I wanted to record the show, but my TV remembered. Unfortunately, it couldn't remind me why I had wanted to record such a dumb show. But that may be too much to ask of a TV.

Until next year.

Then, our TVs will record shows that we meant to record, but forgot to. And shows that we didn't want to record, but should have. And shows that they don't even make, but they should. Like funny ones.

The other day, I got to thinking about how lucky we are to live in a country in which we are so well taken care of. Our navigation systems, cell phones, and televisions are working hard for us, when we aren't. They have our lives in hand, so we aren't bothered. They ask nothing in return. They don't even resent us when we don't say thank you.

They free us to do what we want to do.

They give us peace of mind.

This holiday, we'll all be giving gifts like crazy, tons of navigation systems, cell phones, and TVs. I'm going to be giving them, too, so my family and friends will always be able to see whatever dumb show they want to see. So they'll be able to talk to whomever they want to talk to, and say what they want to say. And so that no matter where they go, whenever they get lost, they can always find their way back home.

And this holiday, when I give gifts to the people I love, I won't forget for a minute the people so far away in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all around the world, who are giving all of us the gifts of peace and freedom.

They ask nothing from us. They do their jobs competently and professionally. They take care of all of us, from afar. They do not ask to be thanked, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve to be thanked. They are paying for our gifts with something far more precious than money.

Thank you, soldiers everywhere, for peace and freedom this holiday.

We love and appreciate you.

May you find your way home soon.

Lisa Scottoline is the bestselling author of 15 novels, including "Lady Killer," coming Feb. 19. She can be reached at www.scottoline.com.