Why do I always get lost? I always get cold and clammy any time I see a “Detour” sign, which is ironic since my first novel is called Detours, but that is a metaphor while real detours just freak me out. I guess it’s because I usually only know one way to get anywhere, so when that way is taken away from me I cease to function as well. When I first moved to upstate New York it seemed like I was getting lost every single day, and getting lost here means going deep into cow country and not being able to find a road that leads out of it.
Once, a couple of summers ago, I was in Rome (Rome, NY, people) for a get-together with some teacher colleagues. I had never been in Rome by myself before, but I thought I knew the way back to route 69 that would take me back in the direction of home. The problem was that I ended up on the wrong street and I assumed it was parallel to the route I wanted. But it wasn’t. I kept driving anyway. I figured I would eventually run into an area that I was familiar with, and of course the longer I kept going straight the more likely that wouldn’t happen. I wasn’t going back, though, because that would admit I was so far off the path, so I kept driving.
The later it got, when the shadows began taking over the road in front of me and I had to turn on my headlights, the more I began to worry. When I finally passed a sign for “Ava,” which is an hour away from where I wanted to be, I finally realized it was time to suck it up and admit that I was hopelessly lost. So I stopped the car by the side of the road (I still wasn’t turning around) and I did what I usually do when faced with a dilemma. I called my wife. She directed me to a road I would have missed otherwise, and within minutes I was back on familiar ground. I guess that’s what comes from actually being from around here. Continue reading “Taking Some Wrong Turns”