Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Mapping it Out

Yahoo Maps and MapQuest didn’t agree on how long it would take three girls to travel from our driveway to Michelle’s. MapQuest’s time estimate was closer. Even though a- tend-to-be race-car-driver daughter and owner of the traveling vehicle tried to make up for our frequent sanity stops, Yahoo was way off.

The most time-consuming detour was the chocolate hunt. Years ago, my hubby and I stopped in a little town in the middle of Iowa that happened to have the best candy shop ever. As we hurtled down the road on Friday, I spied the town’s name on a sign and took the exit. Three miles of winding farm country took us into town and I crawled through the main streets looking for Drew’s. I gave up and asked for directions. We sped to the shop, jumped out of the car and read the note on the door. “Sorry, Closed Early. Open at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.” Three miles later we were back on the interstate. Though I’ll admit that the disappointment, and dare I call it no-chocolate bitterness, made the next few miles quiet ones.

Even though MapQuest and Yahoo didn’t agree on length of time, had I not had the printed copies of those maps in my hand, we’d have likely ended up in Kansas City.

Oh, I know north from south and east from west in my little neck of the woods. Beyond that, they are just little letters on interstate signs. So I appreciate the maps that instruct me to turn right or left and travel 0.2 miles and take another left onto __________ St.

Michelle and I hadn’t discussed my deficiency in directional functionality. She kindly e-mailed me instructions to reach her home. Without the other back-up maps, I’d still be driving around trying to figure out which way was north or south. I suppose I could’ve had made some serious ground when the sun rose and set. Maybe.

Once we met face to face, Michelle somehow realized that my strengths do not lie in finding my way around, and when she drew a tiny map to get me back on the big interstate on Sunday she put a little N with an arrow at the top of the note. I smiled and thanked her went over the note with her -- confirming right, right, left and then right.

I’m sure her very early Monday morning e-mail was just a greeting, not an attempt to make sure we made it home. Even though she asked me if we’d made it home.