Anyone who knows me, knows I have issues with driving. Not driving in that I can’t operate a vehicle properly or have issues with traffic manoeuverings like signal lights or merging or passing. I have issues with directions. East, West, North and South. How to get to one destination several different ways. How to find my way from one point in town to the opposite without ending up out on a distant country road, or worse, Mt. Pearl. My apologies to all of those fine folks who reside there, but I just can’t stand the constant turning lanes. I once ended up in a left turning lane which then led to another turning lane and went in circles for a good half an hour. By the time I got daughter to her track meet, it was over. That was 11 years ago and I still haven’t recovered from the trauma. Maybe it’s the signage. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to know my way around there. Or maybe it’s just me. Yeah, that’s a more likely reason.
It’s not something that’s new to me. When we first moved to St. John’s 12 years ago, I used to carry the telephone book on the passenger side of my car because it had a map of the city in it. I would keep it open just in case I turned down a wrong street and ended up somewhere other than the intended destination. People used to say to me the best way to discover a city or a new place is to get lost in it, but I could never do that. I need to know where I’m going and exactly how I’m getting there. Getting lost is out of the question. As explained in the following tale, if I’m driving and get ‘misplaced’ God help us all, we are in for a crying-sobbing-wailing-middle-finger-pointing helluva time. I’m not trying to sound melodramatic or in need of a case of Ativan, I just have an emotional breakdown of sorts if I’m not where I’m supposed to be. A little over-the-top I realize, but for the past few years, having meltdowns on various ski lifts and Disney rides has become my modus operandi. Add to this complicated cocktail, driving without a sense of direction….my family has a hard time keeping up.
The other day I was supposed to pick up daughter for an appointment. Let’s back track a bit. The possession of the car is a three-way street. My son, my daughter and I share one vehicle. Two of us work full-time, one is a Uni student. At any given day we are at mid-city and shuffle the vehicle accordingly. Daughter had to leave work midday and since I had the car, I was to retrieve her from her work and she was to drop me back at my work and then mosey on down to her appointment. This is how my life works. Complicated with a twist of lemon. Easy. Kinda.
My work is literally a five minute drive from daughter’s – that’s on a good day when there are no roads inexplicably closed for random construction or for lame reasons like bursts pipes and road improvements. Ugh. Like this particular day. I was easily driving along when all of a sudden, BLAM, road closed. Turn right, lady and find your own way. Okay. I can adapt, I think. I turn then go straight, only I should have turned again. Instead, I ended up downtown. The epitome of driving madness, one-way streets and impatient drivers who hate people like me. Hence, meltdown time. I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE DOWNTOWN. I was supposed to be on the opposite side. Of the city. DAMMIT WHERE THE FUCK AM I? No clue. I keep driving and end up at an intersection that only God and Einstein on a good day can figure out. It’s going every which way, which is typical for St. John’s BUT THAT’S WHY I DON’T DRIVE DOWNTOWN. Given I don’t know where I was going and aware the clock was ticking and having no intelligent nor rational thought whatsoever, I STARTED PUNCHING THE SCREEN ON THE DASHBOARD OF THE CAR HOPING I CAN PICK DAUGHTER’S NUMBER AT RANDOM. The most recent calls were there as was every other person I’ve ever called in the universe. I ended up calling Daughter number 1 who was working and whose phone was dead (thanks for that), a radio station, the car’s system stats, until finally I get Daughter number 2, all the while swearing, crying and sweating and also managing a few middle fingers at people with no patience. HELLO, PANICKED DRIVER HERE. CAN’T YOU SEE I’M HAVING AN EMOTIONAL TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE, RIGHT NOW??!!! GAAAWWWWWDDDDDD!!!
Here’s how it went down:
Me: OH MY GAWD HAYLEY I’M SO SORRY I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I AM!!!! (also panicked and crying. My voice is so high-pitched, dogs are howling)
D2: It’s okay, mom. Stop panicking. Where are you? (she is aware of my panicked state when I don’t know where I am)
Me: I JUST TOLD YOU I DON’T F***ING KNOW!! SOMEWHERE DOWNTOWN. I HATE DOWNTOWN!!
D2: Yeah, I know. Okay. How did you end up THERE?
Me: THE DAMNED ROAD WAS CLOSED. I THOUGHT I WOULD END UP AT EMPIRE AVE ACROSS FROM THE DOMINION!!
D2: Okay, so what do you see?
Me: UM…OH MY GAWD CAN I TURN HERE??!! WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT BUDDY?! UM…I SEE A TIM’S…
D2: Yeah, that doesn’t help me. What else?
Me: UH, THE POST OFFICE?? …WAIT. FUCK IT, I’M TURNING. EXCUSE ME, SIR. OKAY, I THINK I’M ON DUCKWORTH NOW.
D2: Okay…. (Hayley is very calm, by the way. Good thing she can talk her mother down from that emotional ledge)
Me: Yeah, I see the Newfoundland Chocolate Factory. I’m on Duckworth. I see the Sheridan hotel now…
D2: Okay. So don’t hang up just keep driving and tell me where you are.
Me: Okay. I know where I am. Thanks, Hayley.
D2: BY THE WAY YOU SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!! I THOUGHT YOU WERE LYING IN A DITCH SOMEWHERE DYING!! DON’T EVER CALL ME CRYING AGAIN!!
Me: DON’T YELL AT ME. I’VE BEEN TRAUMATIZED.
D2: SO HAVE I!!
In the end, I picked her up and she dropped me off and ended up stuck in construction on the highway and CALLED ME PANICKING.
The apple and the tree, folks.