It wasn’t supposed to be complicated. My friend, Holly, and I were taking a road-trip to the Big City in her little Ford Ranger. Two country gals heading into the Asphalt Jungles in a pick-up truck.
Holly loves adventuring, but she’s gone rather “soft” nowadays. She’s got to have all those modern little gadgets to guide her. Smart phones. GPS. All the gee-whiz gadgets that I don’t trust myself.
“Take a road atlas!” I said. But Holly didn’t own one. She had nothing but the dubious thing on the dashboard to guide us.
The GPS system cooperated for the first 200 miles without much trouble. We made it to the motel and dropped off our things. Then Holly made the mistake of saying: “Let’s go to K-mart and do some shopping.”
We took off in high spirits, following the directions from the mechanical voice on the dashboard. I drove the Ranger while Holly punched in coordinates on the GPS.
It was then that the machine decided to go berserk. It issued instructions that made no sense whatsoever. The harder we tried to cope, the worse it became. Eventually, even the mechanical Voice on the dashboard began to sound frustrated.
For an hour and a half, we wandered aimlessly through unfamiliar territory, two country gals in a pick-up—blundering deeper and deeper into the Asphalt Jungle while the Voice barked out nonsensical commands.
“Turn left. Go right. Do a U- turn!” It was hopeless. The machine had gone nuts.
About that time, I looked out the window and saw that our situation was precarious indeed. There were bums and homeless people sleeping on every street corner “We’ve ended up in a bad part of town.” I said. “Country Gals don’t belong in such places. Ever…!”
Holly scowled. She was too mad to be scared. She went on stabbing her finger at the buttons on her dashboard–looking like she was about to blow a gasket. “I could just punch that thing and break it!” she said.
I drove quickly out of the bad area and into a safer part of town. “I’m stopping to ask for directions,” I said. “I’ll show you how it’s done! We’ll do it the old-fashioned way. These new fangled gadgets need to be chucked out the window!”
I braked to a stop and jumped out, asking the first guy I met for directions to K-Mart. I scribbled it all down in my handy-dandy notebook and returned to the Ranger triumphant.
“It’s only 5 miles from here,” I said. “Now we’ll get somewhere, Holly. You just gotta do things the old-fashioned way.”
I headed down the road with confidence, following the directions scribbled in my notebook.
It was dark by now and the headlights of the oncoming cars glared at us fiercely making our eyes hurt. We were dizzy and fatigued, but the hope of finding our K-mart Mecca propelled us onward.
I looked at the clock on the dash. We’d been driving in circles for nearly two hours. “We’re almost there,” I said. “Any minute, it’s going to pop into view.”
But our Mecca-Mart never did pop into view. We were lost again.
I slumped in my seat.
“Pull over at that Taco Bell,” Holly said. “We’ve gotta eat…or we’re gonna die.”
We pulled into the parking lot and stumbled inside. Holly ordered some kind of Mexican Pizza and piled it high with hot sauce. “Nothing like a gut-ache to soothe the soul,” she said.
We began to giggle. We were giddy. Nearly out of our minds.
I pulled out a 6-pack of Twix bars from my purse and ate every one of them. My diet was ruined. Smashed. Destroyed. We ate and chewed and burped and laughed.
At last, we had satiated ourselves. We decided to abandon our search for K-Mart, and find our way back to the Motel. Fortunately, the silly GPS had managed to recalibrate itself somehow. It began to cooperate again. Holly put in the coordinates and we hurried back to familiar territory.
As the lights of the Motel came into view, Holly sighed. “Thank God we’re back! What a horrible evening…but you know, in a way it was kinda fun.” |
I had to agree. It was kind of fun in a nightmarish way. Sometimes the worst of times make the greatest memories, once they are past. You forget about the bad and remember the good. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
So, folks…don’t get your tinsel in a tangle this Christmas season.
Stop and enjoy the craziness along the way. Have a Mexican Pizza. Pile it high with hot sauce. Eat a 6-pack of Twix bars if you have to. Don’t let the frazzle and frustrations get to you this Christmas.
Remember the Reason for the Season. Christmastime should be the highlight of the Year…A time for joy and laughter… It shouldn’t be the nightmare of the Century.
So–pile on the memories! Bring on the giggles, the burps, the hot sauce…And all the sweet calories and fun.
You only live once, folks. Only once.
Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!