Wednesday, March 19, 2008


My husband and I have a standing rule when visiting new cities.  He doesn't drive.  I don't navigate.  This is meant purely for the safety and sanity of my family.  You see, when Theo drives in a new city he is fascinated, enthralled (distracted, if you will) by the skyline, the number of lines on the electrical poles, the state of public transport and all the pretty lights.  In the best of circumstances I am able to locate North on a road map.  It can take 3 miles for me to discover where we are and 5 more minutes to determine how we might get there.  All the while, we are bumping along driving over curbs, swerving and narrowly missing other vehicles  past all the viable pathways to our destination.  Our 8 year old perceives the danger and as soon as he is able to more reliably read street signs he might commandeer my maps.  

It is nice that Theo and I are both relatively unflustered by this issue.  In fact, after nearly thirteen years, it's usually funny to both of us.  Usually in the middle of traffic one of us will realize we accidentally messed up and switched our assigned roles when it is impossible to make it right.  

I realized my navigational issues early in my driving career; age 16.  I accompanied my father on a business trip.  We drove for three days to Denver, Colorado.  On the way, while my father was sleeping, I discovered the hard way what "exit only" meant.  Once in the city, I was allowed to explore on my own whilst Dad was in meetings.   I basically drove around in circles, stopped to get my haircut and buy an outfit at the mall and then continued my driving pattern until I saw a sign that noted the next gas station was in 80 miles.  I turned around and, by the grace of God, finally arrived back at out hotel in time for dinner.

Now, I am almost 32 years old and am as cartographically challenged as ever.  I came to Huntsville, Alabama this week while Theo is on a business trip on the West coast.  I set out from East Tennessee, realizing after I embarked that I had no directions and couldn't remember how to get there.  I decided to call for directions once I got on I-59.  Alas, I made the wrong decision.  I-59 is integral for a trip to Birmingham but entirely unnecessary for Huntsville.  I got directions from my friend when I realized I was on the wrong road.  The remaind 2 hours of the trip my 17 month old screamed.  I'm sure she was lamenting my inability to take a direct route anywhere.

And then again, last night, I had directions for a trip with the kids and I to Target.  I looked over the directions.  They were simple enough.  Outside of the subdivision it was two turns.... that's all.... two turns!  Things were going well until I counted the traffic lights and the third light didn't match the road that was supposed to be at the third light.  Well, the circling began immediately.  I went backward two lights thinking I'd missed it.  I went forward another light and I think back one again.  Finally, I called my friend and she assured me the road I was on eventually intersected the one I wanted.  

In the meantime, Hannah was complaining loudly about her anti-directional mother.  I absent-mindedly turned on some music.  John was quietly listening to his MP3 player.  As soon as I turned on the radio, Hannah calmed and started swaying, smiling and trying to sing along to the music.  I tapped my foot and hummed without really paying attention to anything but the number of traffic lights.  When at last I reached the desired street, I started singing aloud the the song I recognized from the nineties.  And my Mommy Eyes widened and mouth dropped open as I realized my 17 month old daughter and I were jamming out with Pebo Bryson singing about SEX-ual Healing.  Click, I think that's enough radio for this afternoon.  Wow, look, we made it to Target!   


Angela said...

Too Funny! To bad the BLUE TRUCK wasn't there for you to follow! ;)

Marie said...

ROTF!! Follow the Blue Truck! :)