Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Scribblings-Dream Journey

I went on a bit of a journey last night, and I'm not quite sure whether it was a dream, or a nightmare. Perhaps I'll leave it until the end of the tale to decide...

Yesterday, Jim and I drove out to Marine City, a small town about 90 miles from our home, where the chorus Jim sings with was giving a concert. I always enjoy hearing the group sing, but I usually prefer to arrive right at concert time, instead of two hours prior, the group's usual call time. Surely, I thought, I could find somewhere to pass the time before the concert- a bookstore, a coffee shop. Jim did an internet search and located a shopping mall just 3.7 miles from the performing arts center. Great, I thought. Even I couldn't get lost in 3.7 miles.

It was a beautiful day for a little road trip. With minimal traffic to impede our journey, were reached the freeway exit in record time. The remainder of the trip had us winding down a quiet two lane highway, lined with acres of now fallow fields, glistening with mositure from the recent early spring thaws.

We pulled into the parking lot just in time to greet several of Jim's "brothers in song" who were unloading their garment bags, music folders, and water bottles. Jim hastily grabbed up the Yahoo maps he had printed out and carefully stapled together. "Look," he instructed me, "you just take this road out here up to Wadham's, which looks like a dead end, then turn left on King, hop on the freeway going east. I can't tell exactly which exit the mall is, but it's probably this first one." He tossed the map collection into my lap, and hopped out of the car. "See you later!" he called cheerily.

Before I go further, I must confess that (1) I am utterly hopeless with directions, and (2) terrified of getting lost. I can't read maps (no, really, I can't!) and my natural sense of direction is~well, challenged, to say the least. "I hope so," I said, now surveying the remote landscape I had enjoyed just a moment eariler with great trepidation.

Gathering up my courage, I climbed into the driver's seat. I found the first road on my itinerary without difficulty, and a feeling of confidence began to creep into my mind. I was breezing happily along, when I decided to check the trip odometer. Wait~how could I have traveled 6.3 miles already?? The mall was only supposed to be 3.7 miles away, and I hadn't even reached the freeway? Well, the map was wrong, that's all, I thought. Sure enough, here was the dead end at King Road, where I was to turn left. With no oncoming traffic in either direction, I swung onto King, glancing at the digital compass which indicated I was traveling North. Like Gretel, in the famous fairy tale, I made a mental breadcrumb note that on my return trip, I should be traveling South on King.

After another 8.9 miles, I finally reached the freeway. The first exit promised nothing more that a Speedy Gas Station. After another 4.2 miles, I reached the next exit, which I had completely passed before I noticed what looked like an outlet mall~could that be the shopping mall I was looking for? I kept traveling, determined to turn around at the next exit. Suddenly, a large blue sign loomed in front of me. "Blue Water Bridge/Canada Next Exit."

Panic. Bridge? Canada? I glanced at the clock - I had been driving for 30 minutes already, and gone nowhere. My head was spinning...okay, okay, just turn around and go back exactly the way you came, I thought. Forget the shopping - I don't even like outlet malls all that much.

Anxiously taking the first of several exits marked "Bridge to Canada," I wheeled into the parking lot of Ron's Harbor House Restaurant and turned around. Back to the freeway - west toward Detroit (oh, blessed Detroit!)

By this time, the sun was setting, a glorious orange fireball that I would have enjoyed tremendously on any other day. Right now, however, I was driving directly into it, and the damn thing was completely blinding me! Wait - there's the King Road exit! A quick veer to the right, a left turn, double check the compass (South, thank God!), a deep breath. I'll be allright now.

I arrived back at the performing arts center in plenty of time for the concert, and I spent several moments just sitting in the car, reflecting on my journey. In some ways, I had set myself up for failure on that trip. Feeling anxious from the moment I left, second guessing myself along the way, not preparing myself by writing out directions, which I know I need to do based on my inability to read maps easily. I have often made those same mistakes on the journey that is my life, turning things that should have been a dream experience into a nightmare. Ending up nowhere near the place I intended to be, giving up in defeat, and going home feeling relieved, but also feeling like a failure.

Dreaming is great, and I've already determined to set some dream goals for myself. But the journey toward making those dreams come true will require a positive attitude, and a realistic plan of action.

"So," Jim asked, as we were getting into the car after the concert, "did you find a way to keep busy?"

"Oh, yes," I replied, "no problem at all!"



Blogger Remiman said...

My oh my oh my. I'm chuckling silently 'cause I've done the same thing too many times to remember. ;-) No, really! I am, however very good at reading maps. Not while driving though. I have zero sense of direction. I won't say that getting lost left me feeling like a failure, but it sure made me feel foolish.
Some dreams are just fun to have and revisit from time to time. Others are worth persuing regardless of how many times we fail.
Love your story!

Blogger Star said...

I confess that I can read maps fairly well but not as I'm driving. So, like you, I need to write out the simple version on a sticky note and put it on the dashboard or something so I can get my directions at a glance. I'd actually probably be okay almost anywhere driving my own car, but stick me in a rental and the fear factor goes way up!

I'm glad you found your way back to the venue without further incident. It made for a journey most of us can really identify with.

Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

Oh, Becca- I'm just glad you made it back in time! I once did that and I was only going out for a chocolate milk at the 7-11! Somehow, you couldn't go the same way back as you did to get there and I got all turned around!
But it's so true- one does have to believe in themselves and their dream!

Blogger Nicole said...

i can remotely picture your trip, being from michigan myself and all. haven't been up near the blue water bridge in awhile, but do live near detroit. i'm glad you found your way and made it back to the concert in time.

how is the new jodi p. book?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I have SO been almost the exact same way. I have no sense of direction, and I have a driving phobia, so you can just imagine...

I loved this post. It's always nice to find someone sharing this type of thing, and writing it so well that I am not ashamed. :)

Blogger paris parfait said...

Oh, I did the same thing once, headed towards Texas instead of Louisiana. My grandmother was with me and laughed and laughed.

Blogger Tori said...

You did an excellent job of weaving this day into a great read!
A true writer lives the story :)

Blogger Shaz said...

Ohh that feeling of panic. I am so glad it worked out. Sorry but I am laughing, not at you with you ;-)

Blogger deirdre said...

I sooo know the feeling. I got lost in S.F. one time and it took me 45 minutes to find my way back to the street I wanted to be on. And the problem was the directions I'd downloaded. My printout said turn left when really I should have turned right. Yikes. So,it may have been the map and not you at all. I'm so glad you had a little adventure and still got back with time to spare.

Anonymous bella said...

Ha! No problem at all. That was the best comeback.
I had to laugh Becca, because I am just like you when it comes to driving to new and unfamiliar places. I need a map that is totally mapped out for me - and looked over and over many, many times!

Blogger Tammy said...

Hehehe I loved this story and how you tied it into how it effects your dream journey. Very clever :)

Blogger gautami tripathy said...

I too am hopeless in reading maps! It is woman thing, I suppose!


Journey within the mind

Blogger Jennifer said...

hehe, your post made me laugh. At least you can see humours side through it all. That happens to me all the time, I have learned to enjoy the place I end up instead of panicing about getting to place I'm suppose to be...


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