Monday, December 28, 2009

Brought to You by the Letter L


Hi. My name is Sara, and I’m directionally challenged.

In other words, I’ve spent most of my life [L]ost.

I grew up on an acreage outside of a small town of about 5000 or so, and I could drive from our home to school, friends’ homes [sadly, some friends’ houses I’d get miserably lost every time], my mom’s work, church and McDonald’s. Beyond that, I was and still would be useless. And if you asked me for directions to get to my parents’ new home today… I’d have no ability to tell you how to get there.

I wish I was exaggerating.

The first time I became embarrassingly lost, I was in high school. I was going to visit my sister Laura on the western side of the state. Dad was giving me directions and he said, “You turn at the four corner intersection in Humboldt. You know, like when we go see Steve at college.”

I totally knew exactly where he was talking about. What I didn’t realize was he meant for me to turn right at that corner, not left like we did to visit Steve… on the eastern side of the state. I drove two hours in the wrong direction before I realized what I’d done and turned the car around. I called my sister to tell her I’d be late and swore her to secrecy… but as my visit went on I quickly realized everyone knew by the way they tried to stifle their laughter. I don’t think I’ve lived it down to this day.

I still blame it on Dad and his directions, though. He should have known better than to assume I knew which way to turn. :)

As hard as it is to believe, that wasn’t the worst example of me getting lost. And again, it totally wasn’t my fault. I’m sure you’ll agree with me on that point by the end of the story. :)

When I was in college, my friends Nicole, Heidi and I were all in a GenEd Nutrition class together.

I didn’t have a photo of all three of us handy, so here is me and Nicole:
me nic

and me and Heidi:
me heidi

We discovered while talking during class [not that I would ever do such a disruptive kind of thing] that we all had good friends who attended Notre Dame. Over the course of the semester we found a weekend that worked for everyone and decided to take a road trip to the Penn State/Notre Dame game. [ND won by one point at the end of the 4th quarter. The crowd rushed the field and tore down the goal posts… it was so exciting.]

Anyway, I borrowed my brother Steve’s car and, since I would be in charge of driving, we decided whoever was in the passenger’s seat would be in charge of navigation. Did you all read that? Take a mental note: I was not in charge of navigation. We had to stop and buy maps of Iowa and Indiana since the only one in Steve’s car was of Wisconsin. We made it to Notre Dame by the skin of our teeth, not because of directions, but because we hit downtown Chicago at rush hour in the middle of a freaking blizzard. Getting through a storm like that should have been our biggest obstacle. Sadly, that was yet to come.

But we made it, we saw our friends, we went to parties [at which I discovered I was by far the least intelligent person in every room… I would never have made it at Notre Dame]… we enjoyed the football game and met up again for the long car ride home.

As it turns out, it was a bit longer than we originally anticipated.

It was the weekend before a big test, so while I drove and Heidi navigated from the passenger’s seat, Nicole was quizzing us off of note cards from the back seat. Unlike the blizzard on the way there, it was a gorgeous day, the sun was shining, we were chatting and listening to music and… oh yeah, studying… when Nicole piped up from the back seat:

Uhm, guys? Are you noticing a lot of Wisconsin license plates?”

And just then, we noticed a sign for the Wisconsin Dells. And realized that most of the truck stops had huge wedges of cheese on their signage. We were heading back to Iowa… from Indiana… via Wisconsin.

I have seriously never laughed so hard in all of my life.

We stopped at the truck stop with the huge cheese wedge and fought for the one-stall bathroom because we all were about to pee our pants laughing. It only got worse when we realized that we needed that stupid Wisconsin map after all! Making the best of it, we put Nicole in the passenger’s seat to take over navigation duties and decided to take the map’s designated scenic route home… we figured if we were going to be driving for hours, we might as well have pretty trees to look at.

I hate to even mention that I almost missed the exit for our college when we were minutes from home. Because that part of the navigation would have totally been my fault, unlike the rest of it. :)

That is still one of my favorite trips of all time, and it absolutely bonded Nicole, Heidi and me for life. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when the three of us have been together where laughter wasn’t the main component. We’ve celebrated their weddings and their babies, new homes and new jobs. And while I think we would have been close regardless, I’m pretty sure that moment in Wisconsin sealed the deal on our friendship. Which is why I think always knowing where you’re going can be overrated.

Sometimes life’s best moments happen when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time with the right people. I’d get lost with them again any day.


a to z

Alrighty… don’t forget to leave a comment with an [M] topic for next week’s post.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!!

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