I have the sense of direction of a monkey in hurricane. But I haven’t always been this way. Years ago, I used to hop in my car, strap my then 6~month~old into her car seat and drive all over the South. And this was before cell phones and Mapquest. Before GPS and turn~by~turn directions. I reveled in my independence. Miss 6~month~old and I would turn up the music, I’d sing to the top of my lungs and she’d promptly fall asleep. That was the life. We never got lost.
Then something happened. I got married. I had more kids. I bought a cell phone. I started using Mapquest. Somewhere along the lines a switch got flipped and I started to lose sense of direction. And never has that been more abundantly clear than today.
This afternoon, the girls and I excitedly loaded up the car so we could drive to St. Louis to meet up with an old family friend. This woman has known me since I was like 7 or 8 years old, I was so excited about introducing my kids to someone other than my parents and sisters who knew me when I was little… Anyway, we got on the road ~ the music was pumping, I was singing to the top of my lungs and ½ my road crew was in the back seat sleeping. It was just like old times.
I had planned everything out. I mapquested and printed out the directions, I studied the drive before I left home and then I programmed the directions into my cell phone’s GPS. What could possibly go wrong?
After an hour and a few minutes, we made it safely to St. Louis. I pointed out the ginormous St. Louis Arch to the girls and we made the appropriate “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs.” I even made a mental note to stop on our way home. The sweet voice on my cell phone GPS announced that I needed to make a right turn, so I did, even though every fiber of my being told me that it was the wrong way to go. We ended up crossing the McKinley Bridge and going in to Podunk, Illinois. I pulled over to the side of the road to consult my print outs. Ummmm, I had pages 1 and3 but no page 2. Page 2 was the crucial page. Page 2 had the directions that I needed.
I turned the car around to head in what I believed to be the right direction. “Recalculating…” I did this three times. By now the girls were more than slightly amused by me and the increasingly hostile relationship I’d started to develop with that female voice at the other end of my GPS.
I looked at my cell phone to reprogram the navigation and I had almost no charge left on my phone. I went to plug my phone in so I could charge it and the charger was blown. Yep, there I was on the side of the road with no cell phone, no directions and on my 3rd trip in to Illinois. Finally, I saw a State Trooper so I pulled over and asked him for directions, he looked at me, started laughing and said “You’re in the wrong state.”
I made the command decision to just turn the car around and head on back home. I called our friend, told her what happened and hit the road… I was disappointed at the turn of events and I assumed that the girls were too. So I apologized to them for getting us lost and failing at our mother/daughters excursion. They laughingly replied “We saw the Arch. And went to Illinois. Three times.” Then they assured me that they had a great time.