Why I'd Fail as an Explorer, Cassette Tapes, and Other Road Trip Observations

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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  1. I always think every direction I'm facing is north too.  
    And I'd make a worse explorer than you, because I am mentally incapable of reconfiguring the trip home by just reversing everything.  "We turned left coming in, so we need to turn right to leave."  I'm UNABLE to processing this.  I have to print out a separate set of instructions to come home, unless I've been there twenty-five times.

  2. Ha!  I took a road trip last Friday/Saturday as well.  A friend went with me and it was glorious!!  We had grown up conversations.  We didn't have stop make a bathroom stop every 30 minutes.  There was no kicking of the seats either.  I was also extremely grateful for her navigational skills because I have none and would have surely been supremely lost had I been alone!

  3. You never knew how fast you were at traveling without kids until you actually have kids.  It's a funny irony, huh?  Glad that you had a great road trip!

  4. This is too bad.  It would have been really fun to have road-tripped togeterh, except that we eventually would end up at the wrong place and be unable to return.  Other than that, though, it would be a mighty nice time, I think.

  5. Yes, obviously the road going straight is going north.
    I would have included the Pringles and Snickers in my journey...you have much more will power than I do!

  6. I say one day we throw caution to the wind and have a road trip together anyway.  I'll bring some sort of an electronic GPS thingy and you'll be there to say, "No, your OTHER left."  It will work out great.

  7. Linda, I'm so glad someone else understand that straight ahead just SEEMS like north!

  8. Sounds perfect!  I'll bring some popcorn for you.

  9. Isn't it funny how just being able to listen to the water trickle from the toilet can turn into a mini-escape? Ah,Mommiehood! One day we will be bored.


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