Monday, May 14, 2007

The Promised Land

I am glad to be back home in Texas.
There is something about crossing the Red Sea between Egypt and The Promised land that gets me everytime. Even the pavement sounds sweeter under your tires when you cross the border into your home country.

We spent this weekend pretty much on the road the entire time, with the exception of sleeping at a friend’s house in Tulsa, and a hotel room in Ft. Scott, Kansas.

The other exception was the time we spent at a wedding in the middle of a verdant pasture on Saturday afternoon.

The rest of the time was quality time in the car on the road, coming and going, going and coming.
And getting lost.

I’ve decided I may be getting too old to travel much anymore. It’s a pity, because I’ve always enjoyed traveling, seeing new places, finding out where a road goes, meeting the people in unfamiliar towns. That’s a slice of America you just can’t get on an airline. Of course, on an airline, after you’ve been cavity-searched for the obscure makings of an IED, the pilots rarely get lost.

Maybe it’s that I don’t comprehend directions as well as I used to.
Right means right, Left means left, and North, South, East, and West are still in their respective corners of the world. I even have a factory compass on the display in my car to keep me on track.

Where I must draw the line, however, is with the creative directions that are sometimes given on such out-of-town excursions. Fortunately, such directions still contain some nuances of navigational aids, like left and right, but I get suspicious when the directions don’t contain street names or numbers, and instead use words like “up” and “down.”

McDonald’s next marketing campaign should utilize the landmark restaurants as just that—landmarks for the navigationally-challenged (or those of us too cheap to buy a Garman.) Here is a direct quote from a set of directions to Saturday’s wedding:

“McDonolds (sic) – Right
Straight to Stop sign turn left follow around to new hospital
Stop sign right go up hill down hill 2 times…tents on left side…”

Lucky for me, there aren’t too many tents in the middle of grazing land in Kansas.

But I was worried about the hill-counting: Did the “up” part of the hill commence at the bottom of the dip before the hill, or after?

Another rule I am going to enforce in the future is to refuse to take directions from 80+ year old women on the phone. They become too confused…and in turn, their directions tend to pass the confusion along.

An elderly woman was trying to describe to me how to exit from an expressway onto a main thoroughfare outside her neighborhood. The exit involved a 180-degree ramp that split into three choices. It would have been simplest to say, “exit at 86th, and go east.”

Instead, I was advised to “take the middle path, and turn left at the bank and the gas station.” The bank and the gas station were across the street from one another. It was an interesting trip.

I hope my nephew and his Bride are having the time of their lives. (They should—they flew via private jet to Galveston, where they boarded a cruise ship for a week in the Caribbean. My kind of traveling. Someone else does the navigating and the driving.)

We’ve told them they’re always welcome to visit us, here in The Promised Land.

I’m not too keen on beating the path back up into that territory any time soon.

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