Somewhere to go, going nowhere

One errand done, I needed to turn left out of the parking lot to head to the other.

But I turned right.

Unlike Suzi, who knows alternate routes to seemingly everywhere, my style is all about defined destinations and set paths — A to B to C to wherever I end up.

With the possible exception of the excited days after I got my first car and driver’s license at 17, I’ve never been someone to “take a ride” to nowhere in particular.

Unlike Suzi, who knows alternate routes to seemingly everywhere, my style is all about defined destinations and set paths — A to B to C to wherever I end up. Among other things, it means I don’t know a lot about wherever I am unless it’s on the beaten path.

Yet, for some reason, I spontaneously decided — spontaneity isn’t something I do much, either — to drive around and see what I could see. Maybe it was that I had plenty of time on my hands, so what the heck?


I wasn’t really looking for anything, I just figured I’d know if I found it. Mostly, I just assumed that one of the roads would get me to somewhere familiar, and then I’d take it from there.

It primarily looked like October in suburbia — pleasant-looking houses and autumn leaves. A woman was out walking her dog holding something she was reading in her hand.

There were farms as the surroundings got a little more rural, and a couple cars in the parking lot of a conservation area. It was basically just a field — the conservation land with the trail through the woods was across the street — but a handy place to sit in the car and just chill.


I didn’t seem to be getting any closer to anything familiar, and once I reached the town line, I figured I had gone far enough afield and turned back.

Problem was … since I had guessed that the road would take me somewhere I recognized, I didn’t pay the greatest attention to how I had gotten to that point.

However, I remembered the last road I had turned off of, and as I approached a sign that said “No outlet” on another, I recognized the turn I needed to make before I reached it.

Then, somewhere, I missed a turn, made a wrong turn, or possibly both.


Another reason I rarely drive around for the sake of it in unfamiliar places — I have a deathly fear of getting lost. Too many wrong turns on wooded side streets are a recipe for thinking I’ve been sucked into a vortex I’d never be able to leave.

But if I did wind up in that predicament, I just figured I’d tap the place I had left into my phone, and let the GPS take me back.

There was, however, one small problem with that line of thinking.

You know what’s sketchy in a lot of semirural to rural areas, especially ones with a lot of trees?

Cellphone service.

When I typed in the place I was looking for, all I got was spinning.

”Don’t panic,” I thought to myself. “Just drive back the way you came. There are houses there; cell service will pick up.”

Indeed it did, within a few hundred yards, actually. As it turned out, I was only about a mile away from where I had started, and — strangely enough considering how the journey began — if I had turned left instead of right I would have been fine.

Back in familiar surroundings, I went to the store for milk.



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