I was commenting on my sister’s blog this morning when I was reminded of one of my dad’s sayings when we were growing up. We’d be in the car going somewhere (especially if it was the city where he’d tend to “lose his way”) and my mom would say “We’re lost” And my dad would say “No, we’re not.” And my mom would say “Then where are we and how do we get where we’re going.” My dad would say “You’re never lost as long as you can find your way back where you came from.”
That resonates to me on SO many levels. First, the practical level of directions and going somewhere. I guess I must have gotten my sense of direction and adventure from my dad. I love “exploring” whether it be in the woods or out somewhere in my car. My best friend Sam and I used to drive around for HOURS on Sundays when were in high school. We’d wander until we found a road we couldn’t remember where it went and one of us would say “Where does this go?” and the other would say “Well, I don’t know. Let’s find out!” And off we’d be on another adventure. Sometimes we’d be gone for hours and hours. Mind you we lived in a very small town so we’d venture to the next couple of little towns over and just ride, ride, ride. No plan, no aim, no end result in mind. Just riding.
After I was married with three kids and was moving back to Virginia, hubby and I (and all three girls) lived with my mom and dad while he trained at his new company. After his training they assigned him permanently (well, as permanent as restaurant management can be) to the store he trained at and we knew we’d have to actually move our stuff from Georgia to Virginia. I found a few houses to look at and grabbed a map and my mom went with me and we went and looked at the houses. My mom was amazed. She’s look at me and go “How do you do it?” I wasn’t sure what she was talking about and then she said “You don’t get lost. You just grab the map and go wherever you want to.” It amazed her but it was like second nature to me. It didn’t seem like it was a big deal to me. I had a map and road signs to guide me so I knew I’d be okay.
It’s funny, but, I seem to get lost more now with a GPS than I did before I had one. I’m not saying I never get lost because I have and I do but more times than not, I get where I’m going. I used to have a knack for if you took me somewhere (with me driving) once, I could usually find my way back there again. Even years later. Now, I don’t know whether it’s menopause or Alzheimer’s or old-timers, but, I get more confused and turned around than I used to.
A week or so ago my friend Ange and I went downtown to a meeting and we drove to the first MARTA station and rode the train into Atlanta. She was amazed I could find my way around. She was like “How do you know what train to get off of and where to go?” I don’t know. I just do. I have always been the kind of person that if I move somewhere new, or get a new job or have somewhere new I have to go to A LOT I get out in my car and just drive around the area. Familiarize myself with the area. Find out where the roads lead, just like Sam and I used to. When I worked in Buckhead and again when I worked in Midtown, I knew how to get to work from every single exit. I’m not kidding you. I don’t care at which exit you force me off, I can find my way to Roswell Road in Buckhead or to Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown. And we all know in Atlanta that all roads lead to Peachtree… Am I right? (Inside joke for Atlantans)
I know this mostly because I hate sitting in traffic. I would rather travel 5 or 10 miles out of my way and be moving than be sitting stock still on an interstate without moving. I’m serious. Every morning on my way to work, if I saw brake lights (lots of them) I’d get off the interstate at the next exit and go a back way. Now a few times that has back fired on me. Because for some reason, it doesn’t always work in reverse. Once on the way home from Buckhead there was a gas leak and they had shut down the road (I was already on a back way instead of interstate) I usually took home so when I got to that intersection I decided to follow the “main flow” of traffic.
I assume now that some dude was just going home and the car behind him assumed the same thing that I did… that the car in front of them knew the way around the road closure and followed him. And the car behind him followed him and so forth and so on until we had a whole convoy following this dude home! Well, somewhere along the line I realized we were heading back to Atlanta and decided to end my stalking phase and struck out on my own. BAD MISTAKE. I’d have been better off heading straight back downtown or to this guy’s house because I ended up in Perry Homes Projects. If you don’t know anything about Atlanta you can watch this short video (very explicit language – be warned) that talks about Perry Homes. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkFhofcJ7vw ) Yeah, it was that bad.
Needless to say, that time wasn’t so pleasant. I seriously called my husband and told him I was for once in my life afraid for my life. I asked him to stay on the phone with me until I felt I was fairly safe again. I didn’t care if he talked on not. I just wanted someone on the line in case I didn’t make it home, they’d know where to look for the body. I
t’s not a prejudice thing either. I am definitely NOT a prejudiced person. Anyone who knows me knows that. But it was barely 4 PM and there were guys hanging out on the street corners openly drinking beer and liquor and smoking (and I’m not talking cigarettes or even weed). There were women that were most probably prostitutes hanging on the street in broad daylight dressed in varying degrees of undress. There were guys yelling and screaming at each other and I was just waiting for someone to pull out a gun and shoot someone else. Even if I weren’t white female alone, I would have been uncomfortable.
I think I heaved an AUDIBLE sigh of relief when I got back to the interstate. I was never so glad to get home in my life. Despite the emotional trauma of my afternoon visit to Perry Homes, I still guess I wasn’t really lost by my father’s description because I did find my way home. I was just momentarily misplaced.
Then there was the time a couple of years ago that my class was having a “big 50” party that I had organized. The party was to start around 6 that evening and my flight came in right before noon. I was going to go by and pick up my cousin Cheryl who was going to be my “date” since hubby wasn’t with me. I figured 6 hours gave me plenty of time to rent a car, drive to Charlottesville to pick her up and then the two of us to scurry on over to Wintergreen Resort near Afton. I should have even been early. And it would have been plenty of time had I not missed my turn to Route 29 completely and ended up almost in West Virginia before I realized I had missed my turn.
How in the heck did I do that you ask? It’s called glancing at directions while at baggage claim and thinking it said to stay on the interstate you were on first for about 60 miles and then turning on route 29 instead of being on route 29 for 60 miles. Then locking the directions in the trunk with your computer. Heck I’m from Virginia. I didn’t need no stinking directions! Yeah… it pays to pay attention. And it probably would have helped had I not been on the phone with my cousin and my friend while I was trying to find the road. That might have been one of those times when a GPS would have come in handy. Maybe that would have been the time that Ms. GPS should have actually come out of the little case (which I swear she’s gonna do one day) and whacked me upside the head with something and said “I said turn, stupid, not turn stupid!” I think I need to invent a cross between whackamole and a GPS for just those occasions! Instead of you whacking the mole… they’d be whacking YOU with a rubber mallet. Turn HERE! I think that might get my attention. How about you? http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/438bc1a708/kitty-whackamole-from-i_rule
For your further amusement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_udqEp_YR4&feature=related