Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Road Less Traveled...only because I can't find it!

I don't consider myself to be a slow learner. Honestly, I can typically pick up on things pretty easily.

For instance, I was the first kid in my high school typing class to master the skill.

I could do a lay-up with very little practice.

I figured out how to repair my own toilet with a paper clip.

I can even understand the various steps of the oil refining process.

But this. This one thing has me gripped in ineptitude.

It has left me frustrated, confused and completely at a loss numerous times.

The problem? I cannot figure out how to get anywhere in my neighboring town.

I just don't get it. It is a smaller community than where I currently reside.

It is just a bridge-crossing away.

And yet, I have not - at any time - successfully driven into that town on the correct route to my preferred location.

Here's the problem: there are at least 4 different entrances and I will inevitably choose the wrong one.

Take today for example. I needed to travel to that "city across the river" to deliver a small package.Was it critical that I deliver it?


As a matter of fact, whenever possible, I just mail stuff that has to go there. That's how much I fear venturing west.

But I felt it was important to hand-deliver this, so I diligently mapped my route online, printed a copy of the map and directions and thought SURELY nothing could go wrong.

But it did. Because I'm apparently cursed to repeat the same mistake over and over and over.

I can NOT drive into that town correctly. I forever choose the wrong exit.

But in my defense, it is a poorly designed area. I mean, come on. What's with these exit signs? They couldn't be more confusing.

They all have 14 names for one road on them. Unless you're a speed reader, you'll likely miss the one word you're looking for!

But today I was feeling confident behind the wheel. I truly thought I would conquer my shame of always getting lost in this town.

Alas, it was not to be.

The directions seemed simple enough...until you're actually on the road.

"Merge onto I-94 W toward Mandan."

Okay, I would like to merge, but I'm frozen in fear because the very next line says (if you reach I-94 W you've gone about 0.3 miles too far.)


I was to merge onto I-94 W and yet if I get there, I've gone too far?

Someone please explain the logic in that!

So as I approach that exit, I have to make a split-second decision because the brainiac highway engineers made sure you only have a one-lane option, and if you're in the wrong lane, too bad. You're well on your way to circling the city multiple times.

Which, incidentally, is what I've done more times than I care to admit.

Yes, I am quite familiar with the long stretch of highway that seems to be leading to a great abyss, only to surprisingly pop you back onto the interstate with very little warning.

So the trip that was detailed to be 8.1 miles became closer to 30 miles.

If this was the first time this happened, I wouldn't be so annoyed. But sadly, this is typical for me whenever I attempt to drive the route that hundreds of people travel every day. I realize there are very likely people who could do the trek in their sleep.

I, on the other hand, am white-knuckled and terrorized by the mere mention of the destination just over the hill.

You would think with all the times I've driven or been driven to that town, at some point it would click. That my brain would finally say, "OH! Now I get it!"

But my brain hasn't even remotely gone there. Not even close.

At first, I felt like the entire community was out to get me. But now I've found myself in complete awe at all the people that reside and work there. They're like superheroes.

They can actually drive the roads leading to their town and not end up on a "scenic byway."

And it's a shame, because I have friends over there. And business contacts.

But I resign myself to the fact that they will forever be a P.O. Box to me.


  1. Maybe I could help you get around Mandan if you could help me with this blog thing! I cannot seem to get my page up and running Ugh!

  2. Sadly Maxine, I admit I used to be in the same boat...the cure? Having the humiliation of needing my own children tell me which way to turn. After the abject humiliation of it all (not to mention listening to the multiple tones of "seriously mom?" in their voices) I forced myself to learn how to get where I'm going...but ONLY the places I've had to go before. New places? My only hope is to ask my wonderful, all road-knowing husband. After 16 years together, He has learned to give explicit and Cindy-friendly instructions...things such as "turn right at Burger King." He used to try things like "turn North" Seriously? I get lost in parking lots and malls and you're telling me turn "NORTH?!" Anyway, next time you need directions, do NOT turn to the internet. Call the human ND road map that is my hubby. He will not only give you the fastest route, but he will give you instructions that make sense.

  3. Flour Pot, you have deal.
    And Cindy, I think you're exactly right. I was thinking there needs to be a specialized drivers ed course - just for entering and exiting that town! I need someone to ride with me, and have me do the routes over and over again until it is cemented into my brain!