It’s time for Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop again. This week I chose prompt #1.) Describe a moment when you ignored your intuition. What happened.
There are many times I ignored my intuition and shouldn’t have. I usually try to listen to my “gut feelings” but every once in a while I get a wild hair and think Nah… I should do it this way. Most times it would have turned out better if I just went with my first thoughts on the subject. I sometimes over think things and second guess my gut which usually has worse consequences, sometimes with humorous results, sometimes not so much.
A lot of times that happens when I’m driving and I’m temporarily “misplaced”. Usually if I go with my gut things usually end up okay. Other times, like I wrote about a few weeks ago, I end up somewhere like Perry Homes which could have ended a lot worse than it did. Well, this is another one of those times. End results could have been a lot worse but I’m here to tell the tale so you know it ended okay.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I usually “explore” when I go somewhere. There are many roads in my county that I still have not travelled, believe it or not. I try to find out where most roads end up but most times I’m in a hurry or on a mission so I don’t take the time to find out exactly where something goes. When I started working in Midtown Atlanta, at first I always took the interstate almost all the way to work. I’d take the main road closest to my house (Chapel Hill) and drive up to Interstate 20 and take it straight into Atlanta. Then I discovered that if I took Highway 166 down to the bottom end of Fulton Industrial Boulevard and hit I 20 that way I actually bypassed most of the traffic coming in from Douglas County and coming home it was the same way since the worst of the jam usually hit around the Six Flags area until you got past Chapel Hill Road which is where I would get off and then Chapel Hill is one of the most congested roads in our county so I was just adding to my commute.
So, I started going to work down Fulton Industrial and coming home that way too. After a while of my mind numbing commute I noticed that on the way down Fulton Industrial after it had turned into Cascade Palmetto there was a road called Cochran Road and I’d notice on my way in there was also a Cochran Road off Highway 92. I began to wonder if it was the same road and if it was connected somehow but never had the time to really check. I had actually taken the time to look at it on Mapquest and it looked like it went all the way through. In the mornings I was always in too much of a hurry and in the evenings it was usually already dark and I’m not so much into exploring new areas in the dark. I like to see the type of area I’m travelling through so I know if I need to start having massive heart failure or start screaming or something.
For the longest time at the intersection of Highway 92 and Cascade Palmetto Highway there was no light. It was a 4 way stop and in the mornings the traffic from that 4 way stop would back up unmercifully. Some mornings it would be backed up a couple of miles. Take into consideration that this Cochran Road is about a mile from this infamous intersection and the fact that I am an insanely hyper person when I get behind the wheel and get stuck in traffic. Me + excessive traffic + bad weather = a potentially hazardous situation.
One morning I had left for work and it was a drizzly rainy nasty morning and I had just about 10 minutes extra in my commute and I get about 2 miles from that infamous intersection and traffic is stopped. I know that that is no way in hell that I am going to make it to work in time stuck in that mess so I decide “Hey, this would be the perfect time to check out that Cochran Road….How much worse can it be?” Hmmmmnnnnnn worse….. much worse.
I turn down the road and then you have to turn down another road and almost as soon as you turn down that road, it turned to gravel. No problem. I have a manual transmission…. Gravel roads are no big deal. I grew up on gravel roads. So, I’m travelling down this gravel road and I notice the houses start getting farther apart and the road starts getting narrower and narrower but I figure pretty soon it’s got to pop out on the other end, right? It’s raining by now and I’m steady going down this little gravel road when I come to this wooden bridge. I’m not talking about one of these nice well maintained BIG like covered wooden bridges or anything…. I’m talking barely slats across a creek wooden bridge. I actually stopped my car and thought about it …. For about a minute. It looked like cars went across it fairly recently and I’m thinking I’ve already wasted 20 minutes and if I go all the way back to the highway now I’m gonna be 40 minutes behind and it can’t be that far to the end, right? So, I push ahead. Should have listened to my intuition.
Now let me tell you that driving, it takes a bit to rattle me. I’ve driven over rickety bridges all my life… I’m from freaking Walton’s Mountain, remember? I was weaned on gravel roads and wooden bridges, but as soon as I got the first two tires on this freaking bridge I thought to myself “Uh oh…” I actually felt the bridge lower substantially. Remember I drive a little Jetta, right? Not some big honking truck or SUV. I’ve got a bitty little car that can’t weight THAT much. But stubborn woman that I am, I think… ok, it’s not gonna collapse and there’s no where to turn around and it’s raining so hard I literally can’t see to back up off the bridge so I figure I have no option but to push forward. I literally held my breath as my car creaked across this little bridge that wasn’t much wider than my car. It wasn’t that long of a bridge, probably not much longer than the length of my car, but it seemed like it took forever to get to the other side and start up the little hill on the other side. I am telling you I was literally shaking. I’m not sure if it was fear or adrenaline or relief but my whole body was shaking so hard I’m lucky I didn’t shake the bridge apart!
I get to the top of the hill and go about 50 yards and there is a HUGE puddle of red mud all the way across the road. Again, I literally stopped my car and thought about it. I looked around. The road is barely wider than my car so I know that I don’t even have enough room to turn around. Besides…. Even if I could turn around, I’d have to go back over that freaking rickety ass bridge….so…. I push on. I knew as soon as my tires hit the mud that it was not the right decision. My car literally started sliding all over the place. I had like no control at all. I wasn’t pushing the gas or the clutch or the brake. It was just going where it wanted. The patch of mud was probably only about 20 or 30 feet so I’m thinking… ok… all I gotta do it make to the other side… I can see the other side. Just gotta keep going and try to hold it in the road. When it stopped sliding I actually sat there in the middle of the mud hole because when I finally stopped sliding and hit the gas again the tires started spinning. Crap crap crap!!!
Did I mention I was wearing a dress? And heels??? I opened my door just a smidge and I could have literally touched the mud without leaning over much. I shut the door. I decided it was time to call in the troops, but how in the heck was I going to tell anyone where I was? How the heck were they gonna find me and how the heck were they gonna be able to get a BIGGER vehicle down there to help me out? So, I pull out my cell phone and guess what? NO SIGNAL!!! Seriously, not a single bar! I tried it anyway just to see if it would work…. Definitely ~ no ~ signal. . . So, here I am, in literally the middle of freaking nowhere stuck in the mud, in the pouring rain, wearing a dress and heels….and by now already very late for work. How much worse can it get?
I’m thinking I can take off my shoes and step out in the I’m sure 6 inch deep mud but then what the heck am I going to do? Walk the several miles I have already come to the highway or go on to who knows where? I sit there for a few minutes and decide to try to back out of the mud. Nope…. That’s not gonna work either. Slide city…. I’m talking like a Slip n Slide. I prayed….and I prayed….and I prayed. By now I was seriously scared. I’m thinking I can understand how people get lost in the wilderness and no one finds them because I realize since about a half mile or more before the rickety bridge there were no houses. Who knows where the next one was? And no one knows I’m here! My one consolation was that in the driving rain I felt pretty confident no ax murderer was going to be out there looking for his next lonely victim. Even ax murderers have limits!
I looked around my car to find every scrap of napkin or paper or newspaper I could find and tried to kind of throw them right behind the back of the front tire so I could maybe “rock” the car and get enough traction to move it. I don’t know if that was what worked or the prayer or what but after several minutes I got enough traction to s l o w l y get it out of the mud. After I got through the mud I literally stopped and sent up a prayer and thought “it couldn’t be that much farther”. Seriously, I had no sooner gotten that thought out of my mind when I came upon a mudslide that covered the entire road as far as I could see. In fact it seemed to kind of go around the corner ahead and you literally could not tell anymore where the road was. It was just like the road ended in one huge field of mud. I literally wanted to cry.
I sat there and pondered my options…. I could either sit there and rot and wait for it to quit raining and dry out (which let’s face it, could take DAYS) or I could try to make it through the literal field of mud or I could try to go back the way I had come or I could walk through the mud and the muck and try to find help. I finally decided to try to turn around and go back the way I had come despite the fact that I had sworn to myself that I would NEVER EVER EVER go back across that bridge again as long as I drew breath. Never say never, huh?
The road was seriously only a few inches wider than the length of my car so I had to do like a 50 point turn. Up and back and up and back, over and over and over until I finally got it turned around. Then I had to first go back through the muck hole that I had gotten stuck in. I got as far as I could to the shoulder (such as there was, more of a drop off) and crept through the mud with only a couple of slide outs. Then I come upon the rickety bridge and this time I think I kinda of closed my eyes and gunned it across because with the way my luck was going that morning if I had crept across it as soon as I got the whole weight of the car on it I surely would have collapsed into the water! I finally found my way back to the highway and traffic was still horrendous, but, at least I had a signal and called my boss and told him I was sorry but I was gonna be even later than I already was and I’d explain to him when I got to work.
Thankfully I had a great boss and he knew me and knew how I am and he just laughed when I told him my sob story. I mean it…he laughed… a LOT… more than he should have because by this time I wasn’t thinking it was too funny anymore. I was really just wanting to cry. The next few days he made comments about going exploring and asking if I felt adventurous, did I want to find a “short cut” to work….and on and on. I guess it was better than him getting mad and firing me or something. And looking back now… yeah, it was funny and it could have turned out a LOT worse. But I should have listened to my intuition and turned around before that rickety wooden bridge. At least I figured out a way I didn’t want to go after that and at least I had tried it in the morning when it was light and not after dark. I can’t imagine how much scarier it would have been in the dark. In fact, I’d probably still be sitting there had it been in the dark because I wouldn’t have been able to see how bad that second mud field had been and I’d still be stuck there!
How about you? What happened when you ignored YOUR intuition?