Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Taking the (Not So) Scenic Route

My great-grandson, Owen, turned three on Saturday. I left home in plenty of time to get to his birthday party by the appointed hour but arrived almost 20 minutes late. Point A on the map below is my house. Point B is my granddaughter's house, where the party was being held.

As you can see by following the blue line near the top of the map, the route from my house to hers is fairly uncomplicated. That's the way I always go there. It's the way I intended to go on Saturday. But you see that lone green dot about a half inch east of my house? That's where things went wrong.

There's a busy intersection under that green dot. All I needed to do there was make a left-turn, go a short distance under the interstate, then turn right. The traffic light was red (of course, it was). The heaviest traffic there runs north and south, so the east-west red light is an extra-long one. That was okay; I'd allowed plenty of time and didn't mind waiting. Also, in the half mile I'd traveled from home, I'd become interested in an NPR interview with journalist Jason Leopold, so I was being entertained. In fact, I became so totally engrossed in the interview that my mind wasn't on my driving when the light changed. I made the left turn, but instead of crossing under the interstate, I turned right onto the entrance ramp. I was halfway up there--next exit five miles--before I snapped out of the interview and comprehended what I'd done. Thank goodness I came to my senses before I had to merge.

So. The red line on the map marks the route I actually traveled to the birthday party. Where the red line crosses over the blue one on the right-hand side of the map, I was looking for a street name. There was no street name. There was an unfamiliar Louisiana highway number instead. There was only a highway number where the red line turns eastward again, too, but that one I knew, and seeing it meant I'd gone too far north. I followed that road until I could turn right again. Headed south, I overshot the road I wanted for a second time, turned around in someone's driveway, and finally--finally!--figured out how to get where I wanted to go.

Don't you hate when that happens?


  1. I do that all the time while talking on the phone (hands free of course). My car just seems to want to go a way that I always go and I'm going somewhere else. By the way, the washing machine in your header is just like my first washing machine handed down from my mother when she modernized and got an automatic one. I washed many a diaper in there. The wringer really got things dryer so they would dry on the clothesline faster.

  2. Noel, I used to do that from time to time when driving to work meant a 25-minute commute on a long, tree-lined stretch of the Interstate. I'd start thinking about something and zone out, then realize I didn't know how far I'd traveled or if I'd driven past my exit.


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