Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm on a road to nowhere

I am directionally challenged. It has taken me many years to accept this deficiency, and if asked I probably would still deny it. For some reason I think I can find my way around, that I somehow have a sixth sense that can get me places. The truth is, I don't. My kids have come to accept that going anywhere with me will involve at least one, if not several, u-turns.

Just the other day I was late picking up a friend because I got lost on the way to her house. She lives approximately five blocks away. Granted, I was driving to her house from a different point of origin than I usually do, but it still wasn't so vastly different, and let's face it, the city of Falls Church is only 2 miles wide. There is no reason to get lost. And yet, I regularly get the streets, cross streets, and so on confused. You could mention a street that is two blocks away from me and I would probably just look at you blankly. It's that bad. And god help me if I ever have to go outside the beltway. You may never see me again if not for my GPS.

Luckily for me, I have a husband who has known about my fatal flaw and loves me anyway. Since he discovered how bad it was when we were dating, and married me anyway, is a true testament to his acceptance (or resignation). While there are many minor instances I could describe of me getting lost, I will only tell you about the *big one*.

After finishing undergraduate in Seattle my husband and I moved to Boston for graduate / law school. We thought it would be really fun (and cheap) to get there by driving a U-Haul with all our possessions from one end of I-90 to the other. Things started out pretty well. We had our trip-tik from AAA and had broken out the segments of our journey into manageable driving chunks. We did a bit of touring on the way - the Lewis and Clark caverns, Mount Rushmore, which may have put a bit of a strain on the U-Haul engine going up and completely destroyed the breaks on the way down. The midwest is pretty boring driving. It takes a whole day to drive across Montana, where we were heard to comment to each other more than once, "That sure is a big sky...".

On day three we were more than halfway through South Dakota (another snoozer) and I was reading the map when I had a revelation. Great news - we only have a few more hours left to drive until we reach our destination for the day! Dave seemed skeptical. Was I sure that we were so close to the Wisconsin border? Absolutely, I told him. I was confident that we would be able to reach our goal for the day in time for dinner and could have a relaxing evening. He queried me a few more times but I was adamant. And so we drove on.

A few hours later, near the South Dakota border, we stopped and switched drivers. Dave picked up the map and after a few minutes asked how I figured we only had an hour or so to go when he calculated at around six more hours of driving until we reached Wisconsin. I looked over at the map and scrutinized it closely (you can do that and still drive when you are in the midwest because it is just one straight road). After a minute or so I realized my error. Whoops, it looks like I forgot about Minnesota.

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