Living the Good Life 10-4-10
Frank and I went to see the King Tut exhibit in Denver, Colo., last month, stopping in Conifer to stay with our friends, Iris and Michael. Understanding how nervous we were about driving in a strange city, computer-savvy Mike offered to print off both a map and some mile-by-mile directions. “But remember,” he reminded us, “if everything else fails, you can always go to a gas station to ask for help.”
“I doubt if that will work,” I said dryly.
“Why, because Frank won’t do it?” Iris giggled.
“No, because we might not be able to find one. When we get lost, we get REALLY lost,” I joked … but I wasn’t kidding.
Although my husband and I normally travel well together, neither of us have any sense of direction. One evening, cruising home from Oregon, we somehow managed to drive nearly 37 miles out of our way, and we got mad at each other for not noticing the correct road signs. In Long Beach, Calif., we nearly wore out an oceanfront highway while searching for the Queen Mary – unable even to locate an entire ship. Trying to get out of Nashville, Tenn., we ended up right back where we’d started from. And returning from southern Ohio, we got completely discombobulated in Indianapolis, Ind., after missing a detour.
That time, inching along in downtown, rush hour traffic; sitting in an old Nissan that had no working door locks and surrounded by some of the scariest looking people that we’d ever seen, Frank and I grew so irritated with each other that we eventually stopped speaking. Even after stopping for directions, however, we STILL couldn’t find the way. Just as he was turning right, squeezing back out into the heavy traffic flow, I happened to glance off towards the left and just barely …. off in the distance … noticed the elusive Interstate 70 sign.
“Uh, Honey,” I said as gently as possible, “I think that we’re going the wrong …” but lost my nerve when he cursed another driver who’d cut him off.
That time, we made it about 10 blocks before he started muttering, “Where’s the exit? That idiot said it wasn’t very far!”
“I tried to tell you, Honey, we’re going in the wrong direction.”
“The marker for 70 was back there.” I pointed over my shoulder. Scowling, he made a U-turn, and miraculously, we found our way.
Yet in Denver it happened again, even with detailed instructions. As directed, Frank turned right onto Bannock Street – but no museum. Eventually, he decided to head back to the starting point, which meant a left-hand turn with no traffic light. Just as we stopped to look both ways, an enormous, jacked-up Ford pulled up directly alongside our right, blocking the view. Frank eased forward. So did the other guy. Frank moved another few inches. Again, so did the truck. Finally, I glared upwards, giving the driver my very best, “what are you thinking?” face. He ignored me and sped off, but at least it was satisfying … and it certainly beat quarreling with my spouse.
“I gave that moron a dirty look for you,” I announced.
“Good girl,” Frank responded. We couldn’t spot our building, however.
Eventually, I called Mike on my cell phone. “We’re hopelessly lost,” I explained. “Could you please look up the actual address for us?”
“It’s on the top of page one,” he responded patiently as I searched. “But the paper says 14th Avenue, and we’re on Bannock, which is the final instruction!”
I shuffled the papers … and suddenly found one that Frank had stuck on the bottom of the pile. I shook it at him, part-menacingly and part triumphantly: It contained the missing two sentences needed to locate the museum.
“Never mind, Mike. Thanks.”
“No problem. Just don’t get lost on the way to Conifer.” But of course, we did – within three minutes of completing our Tut tour.
That time, Frank stopped at a gas station immediately. He was grinning from ear to ear when he returned. “I know where we’re going now,” he said while backing out of the parking space. “The checker insisted that I couldn’t miss the exit. I told her, ‘I hate it when someone tells me that, because I CAN miss it.’ There was some other lady standing nearby, and she totally agreed. So did a few other customers.” We both chuckled.
It’s nice to know that we aren’t the only ones, plus, we ARE getting better. I think it’s time that we invest in a GPS unit, however.
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.