Or rather, a roundabout.
“I’m gonna ride it allll night looong,”
These are the lyrics playing in my head on the way home. We have been here a month now. I should feel as nonchalant as I sound taking down the directions to Moira’s babysitting job. 29 years of driving under my belt and all. I’ve got this. I think.
A wave of (over)confidence washed over me as we pulled into the drive after a nearly flawless, uneventful trip there. I delivered her just a little bit late, which isn’t half bad for my record.
The round trip was so named for a reason.
“’Round and ‘round and ‘round she goes, where she stops nobody knows….”
Agnes, the GPS, sometimes has these great ideas. Today was one of those days. She suggested I enter the dual carriage-way (two lanes either direction) left, cross the lanes of traffic, cross the median, and enter right – into the passing lane - going the other direction. Since both lanes on my initial side were full and she gave me 200ft to make this maneuver it was a no-go. No problem, says Agnes. There is a roundabout (or 7…) just ahead.
The big roundabouts (opposed to the mini’s or the double mini’s) are like huge wheels with spokes radiating off and out onto other roads or, sadistically, into yet more roundabouts. They have two lanes. Therein lies the problem. You are to be in the inner lane until you need to exit, when you are to move to the outer lane. This all has to happen in a matter of feet, complete with turn signals. If you have no earthly clue which exit you need then your ear is straining to hear your GPS cues, which inevitably are announced just as you approach the exit – in the wrong lane. Such was my lot.
What followed was a Chevy Chase flashback. I could have my own National Lampoon production and those are words I never thought I would write. Reminiscent of a very bad ‘dizzy cowboy’ experience years ago. To correct the faulty exit, Agnes sent to me a series of other roundabouts until we were pointing homeward again.
A smidge unsettled, I later missed my turn right in our nearest village and veered off onto the street instead. That doesn’t sound like a problem now does it? As it turns out, there is a street in this area aptly named “The Street.” Where do you live? The Street. Which street? The Street. Who’s on first? Wha..?
All’s well that ends well though and it did. Eventually my vehicle, a Gulliver in this land of smart-car Lilliputians, turned in on the farm lane. The circulation returned to my knuckles as the hares darted in and out of the hedgerow and I gave myself a high five. Kieran was at the table reading his book report book when I walked in. Marquette and Joliet. “Did you know they had a paddler?” he says.
“Hm, what?” I said, hanging up my keys.
“Marquette. He had his own paddler on his trips.”
And in that moment a solution to all my roadway misadventures appeared, right there in paperback.
I just need a paddler.
Driving. Alas this is not my skill set.