Since I was old enough to remember, my parents were all about taking the long way home. Literally. My dad would take every back road he could find to make an otherwise 20 minute drive last at least an hour. Sometimes he’d just turn with no idea where the road actually went.
“But Daddy, what if we get lost?” I was terrified of getting lost.
“It has to come out Somewhere,” was always the response, as if Somewhere was a perfectly reasonable place to end up. (It was always capitalized in my head, as if it were a specific place on the map.)
If my dad was in a particularly sadistic mood, he’d pretend he was lost. I always knew he was kidding, but I’d get upset and my mom would smack him. It was a comforting consistency of car rides with my parents.
I didn’t get my drivers license until I was 22, but from the moment I got behind the wheel, it was clear that I inherited my parents’ love of driving. Anywhere. Nowhere. I love driving by myself more than with other people, but I continue to like driving with my parents. When I lived in DC, they came down by train to visit me, and our drive home took eight hours. (It’s a four hour drive at most with normal people.)
What I didn’t inherit was my dad’s willingness to just make a turn onto a road he’d never been on before, with no clue where – other than Somewhere – it would end up. I’ve continued to be terrified of getting lost. *
I spent about six hours in my car this weekend going absolutely nowhere. I took my parents on a drive last night. Why? Because it was warm, dry and none of us had anything better to do. Tonight, I went out for toothpaste and sandals**, and ended up spending another two hours just driving around. And a funny thing happened.
I got lost.
The road I planned to take was closed, so I started to follow the detour. But at some point, I was literally at a crossroads and rather than follow the detour, a little voice in my head said, “I wonder where that other road goes?” I thought, “Well, it has to come out Somewhere.” So I turned.
It did, in fact, come out Somewhere. It was a lovely road, a beautiful drive, and I landed in familiar territory within about twenty minutes. But for that twenty minutes, I was gloriously lost – and it was wonderful.
* For someone terrified of getting lost, I have a terrible habit of never having my GPS with me.
** I totally forgot to buy toothpaste.