Driving without navigational aids (i.e. GPS, Google maps, etc.) is rewarding to me. Understanding that interstates with three numbers are a beltway and two are a stretch of road brings so much more to the travel experience. Other bits of information like odd numbered interstates generally run north and south, while evens run east to west fit smartly in the library of my mind. It’s like I’ve taken control of my activities and wield them in powerful ways.
The biggest lessons of all aren’t presented by any department of transportation, however, and come with experience. First and foremost is the emotional conditioning a driver needs to shrug off things like panic. I’d assert that panic is just as deadly as drinking/texting while driving. You make poor decisions out of fear.
One big fear as a rural kid was the fear of getting lost. As directions would have it, there is an impression of one true way to get to your destination. After phrasing it like this, we all know that’s not the case. We never think of it in terms of that though. Do we? “[expletive removed] I missed my exit. What the [expletive removed] am I going to do now?” Well, there are a number of things and all of them do not involve slamming on the breaks and trying to cross eight feet (~2.5m) of asphalt at 75 mph (~120 kmh) with ten feet (~3m) of clearance.
After five minutes of working on the planning efforts (timeline, webbing, etc.), I decided I had taken a wrong turn with My City by the Bay. What do I do next? It certainly wasn’t panic, as that would be pointless. The fortunate part for me is this story is only in draft format, has not been to an editor or any publisher, and certainly hasn’t been purchased by a reader expecting to be entertained. That’s the good news. The bad news is there’s about 4,000 words I’ve spent quite a bit of energy on which have no identifiable use as of right now. That’s not to say they could be recycled later on, but for right now I see them as a square peg in a round hole.
This is a time where I should see the situation as good thing, a chance to reflect and change things for the better. On the other hand, it’s also going to be a time spent throwing a metaphorical ball at a whiteboard like Dr. Gregory House.