Over the weekend, I took a three-hour road trip by myself. Let that "by myself" line sink in for a moment.... glorious, isn't it? There were no little feet kicking my the back of my seat, no questions to answer, and no blind, one-armed groping to find the toy that had been dropped onto the van floor.
During this road trip, I discovered some things. For one, I have little directional gut instinct. I always think that I'm headed north, which reveals serious spacial deficiency at work. My logic? The road is straight ahead of me; clearly, straight ahead is north.
I would have made a horrible explorer.
Two, I stock up for a three-hour road trip, food-wise, more than I ever would eat in a typical three-hour span. Sweet tea? Check. Box of Dots? Check. To my credit, I avoided the other two road-tripping standards (Snickers and Pringles) that characterize our family travels, as if we would somehow famish in the minivan if we didn't eat continuously for 150 miles.
Three, despite my failed memory in many facets of daily life, such as remembering the names of common items when I'm talking to my children ("Could you just put that thing on the thing over there?") or their names ("You know I'm talking to you."), I still have several extremely impressive mental capabilities.
I know this because I dusted off some old mixed cassette tapes that I haven't listened to in fifteen years -- and, get this, I still know the words. All of the words. Not only did I know the words, but as I reached the end of a song I also recalled what song would come next. Of course, being that this was the first time I played cassettes after a decade-and-a-half-long hiatus, I grossly misjudged the length of time that it takes to fast-forward a song, but within a few attempts I nailed it.
I credit this to exceptional long-term, fast-twitch, fine-motor muscle memory.
But back to the road trip: Since I was singing along -- and slightly intoxicated from the combined experience of traveling solo, being hyped-up on sweet tea and Dots, and overly proud of my thriving memory -- I missed my exit, which clearly was oriented in some other direction than north.
And that takes me back to an earlier thought: I would have made a horrible explorer.
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Photo compliments of Mike Licht (Flickr)