I joke that everywhere I go off my normal route, I get lost. Actually, that’s not correct. I know exactly where I am. I just happen not to be in the right place. Roads in the Carolinas are notorious for not being adequately marked, nor do they follow any particular pattern. Despite the fact that I’ve lived here for almost 20 years, I still think I can “go around the block” to retrace my steps. That’s an old habit from living in Florida where the roads are marked numerically on square grids.
One day during spring break, Josh and I were going to the hospital to have lunch with James. After I dropped off my work, I discovered we had about 15 minutes to kill. No problem, I said, let’s run up to the library just a few blocks from the hospital. I couldn’t turn left out of the parking lot we were in due to heavy traffic, so I said, let’s “go around the block.” Ha! That was my first mistake. The second mistake was that I was driving our Ford Ranger instead of my minivan. Because I get lost so easily, I rely on the compass in my minivan. I guess that’s the pioneer and Indian moxie in my blood. If I’m truly lost and know the general direction I’m supposed to be traveling, I can usually find my way back.
After making several turns, convinced that we were getting closer to the library, I realized I was lost. Terribly lost. We were in a part of Anderson I’m not familiar with. Josh kept saying, “Turn around and go back.” I assured him it would make matters worse, because I had made so many turns I knew I couldn’t backtrack. Finally, a landmark—the Independent Mail newspaper building, which meant we were on the outskirts of town. But—I knew how to get back.
I started laughing. “Hey, Josh, you’ll never guess where we’re going to come out.” Sure enough, we ended up north of where we had started, after traveling south from our original position. He said, “You’re nuts, you know that?” Yep. I do. I reminded him he always has an adventure with me, and we had killed the 15 minutes.
If only I’d had my compass.