(This was first published 6/25/07.)
I know a lot of stuff.
I know how to make chocolate gravy…which almost no one does. I also know what chocolate gravy is…which almost no one does.
I know how to drive a stick. I know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner. I know how to fix anything in my whole house using nothing but a butter knife and a bottle of Maker’s Mark Whiskey.
What I do not know however, is where to find East, West, North and South.
When I am asked to point North by some jack leg who thinks it’s funny because I am a grown woman who doesn’t know her directions, I simply point to the sky. According to all the maps, Heaven is very north. Right over Canada actually.
North is up, South is down, West is left and East is right. That’s because in my mind lives a flat version of the United States map which comes complete with little arrows and the letters, N, S, E, W. That’s what I refer to when making a directional decision.
This weekend my son the Big Dog was set to run in the State finals for track. Weeks ahead, I booked a hotel room, made all sort of plans and even wrote down the MapQuest directions step by step.
Evidently when I wrote them I had just finished fixing something in the house, because upon having my son read them to me as I drove, it was plainly evident that I was drunk.
Long story short, I went east when I should have gone west and we went somewhere we had no business being. My son, a male since birth and therefore incapable of finding any humor in getting lost, expressed his dissatisfaction with me by bulling up and getting all kinds of mad.
“Mom! What are we going to do? I’m gonna be late for check in and they won’t let me run!”
The madder he got, the more I laughed and the more I laughed, the more he threatened to risk grave injury to himself by jumping from my speeding vehicle and running the whole way to the track meet.
Thankfully I had done what I always do when it falls to me to drive somewhere I’ve never before been. I padded our trip time with a couple hours to compensate for the inevitable getting lost. This ain’t my first time at the rodeo, kids. Nor will it be the last time I get lost on my way to it.
What is wrong with me? I truly do not understand how people can just look up in the sky and figure out which direction they are supposed to go based on shadows and the sun. What are we, Pilgrims?
Whenever I have asked my husband to explain directions and how they work, I am met with some insane explanation that always goes something like this, “I know that we are driving Southwest because Bill’s old house…not the one he’s living in now with his third wife but the one he was living in while he was still married to that one chick you didn’t like because she had that slow eye. Remember her, Honey? She was nice. I can’t believe you didn’t like her just because one of her eyes was a little odd.”
“Baby! I never knew if she was talking to me or checking to see if a zombie was readying to jump her from somewhere off to the side. You know I’m afraid of zombies. I could never relax because her wandering zombie eye kept me in a constant state of high zombie alert.”
“Anyway, Bill’s house is west of James’ house and just south of Marty’s House of Fish. That’s how I know.”
Yeah. That makes perfect sense now. I think I’ll get my butter knife & my bottle and assemble a table.