Rick and I had various errands to run over the weekend — his, hers and ours. So we started off together and when the time came to divide and conquer we returned for my car, which we’d left in a commuter lot.
Rick was heading to the marina to finish winterizing the boat, and I told him I was hitting the gym. Several blocks later it dawned on me that I had gone the wrong way. This is nothing new for me. I could probably get lost going to my parents’ house, where they’ve lived since I was eight.
I know how to get where I’m going from home or from work. But if I leave from a different starting location, I’m easily confused when it comes time to decide whether to take a right or a left. As I turned around, I chuckled to myself wondering if Rick had noticed I’d gone astray after he dropped me off.
I decided to call him to find out.
When he answered I said, “I’m pretty sure someday Alec and Lia will have to sit me down and convince me to give up my license, but not because I’ve had too many fender benders. I think they’ll just be tired of me calling them up and saying, ‘I went out to run an errand, forgot what I was planning to do and now I have no idea how to get back home. Come find me.’”
At the very least I shouldn’t be surprised if they give me a tracking device for Christmas one year.
Rick laughed, “You know, when I didn’t see you in my rearview mirror I wondered if you decided to do something else before going to the gym.”
After we hung up I realized he never disagreed with my prediction.
The sad thing is I’ve always had a terrible sense of direction. When I was in college I had plans to spend a weekend in Boston with friends. Normally I was never the driver because we left as a group from campus and the “locals” always drove. But it was summertime and I had to get myself there. I made arrangements to meet one of my friends downtown when he got off from work and he would navigate from there.
Tom promised his building was super easy to find and gave me detailed directions that included the fact that the exit I needed was right after going through a tunnel. I jumped on the Mass Pike in Worcester and forty-five minutes later I entered a tunnel in Boston. Cool! I got off the next exit and then smacked myself in the head when I immediately realized I was not at all where I was supposed to be.
Apparently, Boston was big enough to warrant more than one tunnel. Luckily I was in a nice college-town looking area and circled around trying to find my way back to the highway. Instead I found a payphone and decided I’d gone far enough.
I called Tom at work. “I’m sorry he’s already gone for the day,” the nice woman who answered the phone told me.
I laughed. “I promise you he’s still there somewhere. I’m supposed to pick him up and I’m lost.”
When Tom got on the phone and heard what happened he sighed. “This isn’t Connecticut, you know. We have more than one tunnel.”
“Yeah, I figured that out already.”
“Okay. Find your way back to the highway and…”
I interrupted him right there. “No. I’m not moving. You need to come to me.”
Tom laughed. He thought I was kidding. When he realized I wasn’t, he asked where I was.
“I don’t know where I am! That’s why you have to come get me. I came from the Mass Pike, got off after the first tunnel and then kept taking rights until I found a pay phone. You’ve lived here your whole life, that should be more than enough clues to find me.”
I truly didn’t think that was an unreasonable assumption on my part.
I heard Tom take a deep breath. “Okaaay…describe what you see around you.”
I looked around. “Cobblestone streets, brick buildings. It looks like a college area.”
Tom sighed. “That’s not really helping. Boston also has more than one college. What signs did you pass?”
“Um….” I closed my eyes and tried to picture what I’d driven passed. “There was some kind of music school, a coffee shop, lots of brick buildings…”
“Did you see any signs for the T?” Tom asked, because apparently my own clues weren’t good enough.
That sparked a memory. “Yes!”
“Great. What color was it?” The T system had various color-coded train lines that navigated the city.
Hmm. Observational details. I was never very good at those. “Blue?”
Now Tom laughed in earnest. “No. Trust me. You didn’t make it that far into Town. Try again. Maybe it was green?”
“Maybe,” I conceded. “What other color choices do I have?’
“Never mind. Believe it or not, I actually think I know where you are. I should be there in ten minutes.”
Of course, something like that never would’ve happened today. As soon as I veered off course my GPS unit would have spoken up. “Recalculating…”
Maybe Alec and Lia won’t have to take away my license after all.