Today I got lost. Literally, not metaphorically. In a town the size of a thumbprint, I managed to drive in circles for about 20 minutes on my lunch hour. I blame new road construction, a lack of signage, and the fact that all farmland looks exactly alike to me.
Now, I won’t focus on the fact that my boss and coworkers laughed at me (not with me) when I told them what happen. Instead, I will look for the metaphor in this experience.
First of all, today was an UberMonday. Every person I encountered had a crazy, difficult, frustrating day. Most of us experienced multiple, consecutive failures in communication, equipment, and patience. I’m not blaming my lunch-time wandering on that, but I’m suggesting there may have been a connection of some sort.
So back to me getting lost. My sense of navigation is insanely bipolar-in the city, it takes me just a couple of days to get completely acclimated. My brain systematically evolves a mental map of streets, landmarks, and street names which I continuously update.
In rural areas, however, I am hopeless. I have lived in this area for over a decade, and I’m still at risk for becoming utterly lost every time I leave the city limits and venture forth among my Bovine- and Equine-American brethren. There are several reasons I can devise for this:
1. The lack of discernible landmarks. In the city, you will pass a post office, or a restaurant, or a bridge, or a church, or something that will stick in your brain and help you “bookmark” the terrain. Out amongst the farms, you get pretty much–rolling hillsides, farmhouses, rolling hillsides, cows, rolling hillsides, the occasional silo, barns, and yes, more rolling hillsides. Oh, and depending on where you live, you can also intersperse that landscape with fields of corn, wheat, or soy.
2. The lack of businesses. In the city, if I really get turned around, I’m usually no more than a few blocks away from service station or fast food joint where I can stop the car, stretch my legs, get my bearings, use the bathroom (utterly crucial), and perhaps ask for directions. In the country, you got farmhouses, barns, and fields. I never know when the next store is going to show up, so the road just seems to stretch on forever, terrifying in its non-commercial-ness.
And herein is where I find the metaphor. I like the city because, in its own way, the city is safe. There are known landmarks and plenty of people to turn to if I need help or directions.
But the country is different. I’m pretty much on my own out there, and that is kind of scary. No net. No guidebook.
At some point in my insane travels today, I said to myself, “You aren’t going to change this. You aren’t going to make civilization magically appear just by cursing up a blue streak. So maybe you should just relax, enjoy the scenery, and let things happen as they happen.”
Minutes later, I found my way back to the main highway, just outside of Fort Knox. I was back at the office in five minutes.
So, maybe I should just relax. Maybe I should just enjoy the scenery.
What about you? Are you hanging on to maps and boundaries and the familiar? Or are you just okay with getting lost once in a while?
Either way, the view is awesome.
Love to you–Deb