I just drove home from college for the first time. At my university, we get a nifty thing called Fall Break, which means most people head home for the four-day weekend! So I hopped in my elderly (but spirited) car and started driving back to Hometown, USA.
Now, the route home is very simple. It goes something like this.
1) Get on the highway 1.
2) Turn left onto highway 2.
3) Arrive in hometown.
I completed steps 1 and 2 without a hitch. The problems arose between steps 2 and 3.
You see, at one point during step two, I am required to not take an exit. Continuing on a straight path results in highway 2 turning into highway 3, and thus a straight shot home. Taking the exit results in staying on highway 2, which involves a bizarre round-about route and an added hour to my trip time.
Unfortunately, I took the exit. In my defense, the exit sign had the name of a city I needed to pass through written on it.
I kept going on highway 2, hoping eventually I would find a way home. However, as I started to run low on gas I swallowed my pride and pulled over at a gas station, where the map feature on my phone promptly saved my life. Once I had figured out how to get home from the suburban town I was in, I filled up the car and went to throw away the bit of trash I had accumulated on my journey.
When I sat back down in the driver’s seat, I noticed to my alarm that my keys seemed to have vanished into thin air. Baffled (I remembered having them in my hand just a moment ago!) I started searching. I emptied out my purse. I checked the cracks in the seats. I looked on the floorboards. But they were nowhere to be found.
With a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, I was eventually forced to conclude that they were not in fact in the car. Which meant… the trash can! Not looking forward to being seen digging through the trash, and horrified at the thought that they might have sunk to the bottom, I headed over to the trashcan and opened the lid.
And, miracle of miracles, there they were. Sitting on top of the candy wrapper I’d just thrown away, they weren’t even dirty.
After that harrowing experience (how do you tell someone you’ve lost your keys mid-road trip?), I was glad to get back on the road. Things were going smoothly until I reached downtown Major City. There, the highway dissolves into a warren of many lanes and confusing exits, with any mistakes being dire. So of course I made a mistake.
I realized it a moment too late- I was in the wrong lane. Instead of continuing on highway 3 (which I had eventually found after the gas station debacle) I was forced to exit straight into downtown. Stressed and seeing nowhere to pull over and orient myself, I literally drove in a circle before finally finding my way back onto the highway. The good news is, I now know where the farmers’ market is.
After all that, I arrived home just before dark, to be greeted by my loving family. Of course, I’m heading back tomorrow…
Make me feel better, Internet. Have you ever had a semi-disastrous road trip?