As anyone who knows me knows, if I were to walk outside of my apartment, close my eyes, and spin around three times, I would probably not be able to find my way back to the door. For these and other reasons, I've often considered investing in a portable GPS tracking system, and have taken heart in the fact that I don't now, and never will, drive.
God knows that I've been on many adventures that involved being lost. (I wasn't nicknamed "Lassie" for nothing!) I mean... who could forget "trekking cross-country" from New York to DC (I'm not too good with maps either!) with Re a couple of years ago? It's still hard for me to not to laugh when I think about how many times we accidentally found the same ditch somewhere in Virginia (I'm still not sure where) 3 times! Or how we stopped 5 cars and asked for directions, each time getting more hopelessly and irevocably lost. My favorite instance, however, had to be on the morning we headed back.
Re and I had been lost for some time by this point, and being that I don't drive, I was content to go through a Pottery Barn catalog (imagining I could afford anything in there) while she tried to figure out where we were going. We stopped a couple of strangers who actually had great directions. Re spoke to them -- she seemeed to know what they were talking about by the way she was nodding her head in between her intermittent giggles that she is seldom able to control when she's nervous -- so I just continued circling and checking off items in my catalog. When the couple left, Re rolled up the window and drove off before turning to me and asking, "Where do we have to go?" I, of course, had no idea, and must have been so preoccupied that I didn't realize how bad what I'd say next would sound. "Didn't you write it down?" she asked frantically. "Write it down? What do I look like?" I blurted out. Fortunately, after being "on the road again" for so many days (being lost in the same 5 mile radius of our Crystal City hotel), Re was prepared for this from me and instead of fighting, we laughed and mused neurotically until we found another couple to give us directions, that we ultimately used... to get more lost.
The memories from this trip were not far from my mind on Tuesday when, much in the same fashion, my inability to drive or pay attention to directions, caused me and my best friend Em to get loster than lost -- ironically, in the same 5 mile radius of Crystal City that Re and I spent 3 days navigating.
Em and I were on our way to a cookout. Em was starting to get cranky as she always does when she is unbearably hungry, and I, of course, had no clue where we even were. After driving through the winding and inexplicable maze that is Crystal City, we gave up and decided to go home before it got dark. Little did we know that on the way home we'd somehow end up in Prince George's County (famous for having the highest murder rates in DC), North Capitol, and almost in Anacostia (another stellar area). Nor could we have imagined that we'd finally find our way back to Arlington, only to miss our exit and end up in Springfield, Virginia. Unfortunately, Em was not as amused by my directional/attentional deficiences as Re was, but that did not stop me from laughing about everything from the way in which Em locked the doors everytime a car with six people pulled up alongside us blasting gangsta rap, to the blinding lights in the tunnel which caused me to put my sunglasses on in the middle of the night. No, sadly, Em was not amused, and as we drove deeper and deeper into the ghetto, suddenly my sense of humor started to wane as well -- up until our car was filled with toxic fumes from the gas leaking out of a beat up, stripped down chevorlet riding along side us, when I announced that we should look on the bright side, noting that we hadn't spontaneously combusted.. yet.
Fortunately, we escaped unscathed, with no bullet holes or muggings to mention. Sadly, Em never got her hamburger or beer that night, but what she did get was a lesson: NEVER EVER EVER assume that Nan has the faintest clue as to where she is... EVER.
Perhaps investing in that GPS tracking system isn't such a bad idea afterall...