I’m traveling with Em. We’re doing a kind of mother/daughter trip together, though not, as Em would like, to a spa where we sit around getting our nails done, (Em has fallen in love with the joys of a good pedicure) go swimming in heated pools that are like massive bath tubs and doing nothing else… that trip will have to wait.
And I made the mistake of opting out of the GPS system for the car I’ve rented, which means every few minutes Emma can be heard saying from the back seat, “Oh no! You’re going the wrong way!” And because I have no sense of direction, am driving in a state I’ve never been before, let alone city, she is correct. We have been here less than 24 hours and have gotten completely lost, despite thorough directions from google maps (which suck, by the way, I’m totally blaming google maps) FOUR times! This is not an exaggeration.
It seems I cannot drive more than a few miles without taking a wrong turn, end up inexplicably going in the opposite direction from where I meant and wanted to go. So I’m like one of those annoying drivers who’s leaning forward, peering out the window, both hands nervously gripping the steering wheel and driving so slowly I’ve got a line of cars in back of me, pissed off and trying to get around me. But I won’t pull over because I don’t know where the hell I am and… Yeah. That’s me in that car you’re honking at. And that GPS system that I turned down, because really, at an additional 20 bucks a day or whatever it was, who would think that was a good idea? Um… it’s looking like a bargain, right about now…
This was not always the case. When I was in my late teens and all through my twenties I lived and drove all over the place. I lived in LA for three years, a city where you spend more money on your car than you do on your home. So yeah, I’ve driven a lot. But as I have grown older and my eyes are not as they once were, requiring glasses, my sense of direction (not that I ever had one) has gotten worse, not sure how that’s actually possible… but it has… so a GPS system, it turns out, is less an “option” and more a necessity.
But last night when we arrived, I was still thinking of the me that I was thirty years ago. The me that took on New York City traffic without a second thought, the me that spent hours a day navigating Southern California’s freeway system, the me that drove all over the place, every day without hesitation, yeah, that me.