I Have A List And A Map. . .
What Can Go Wrong?

Wendy Lee Klenetsky

© Copyright 2019 by
Wendy Lee Klenetsky


Photo of a wrong way sign.

        Itís a tale of what my children and I have gone through with my husband as we traveled the roads.

        "I have a list and a map. What can possibly go wrong?"

           Gee...if I had a dollar for every time that phrase (or one just like it) was uttered, I'd be having pina coladas at our villa in the south of France! Well, maybe not France, but at least Palm Springs!

            You see, it's not that he tries to get us lost on our vacations or one-day trips, it just seems to  happen more often than not.

            From the years before the girls were born, I'd always tell him to check the maps, and, if need be, along the way to ask for directions for the "WELCOME (information) CENTERS" of that particular area. But, of course, he knew better, so did not have to ask for help.  No, not him.. Mr. Know-It-All, "I can read a map as well as they could, "World Traveler".  And this, as I've said, is nothing new.

            When the kids were little and we'd take family trips: to see how the Amish live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, or Disney World, or watch a rocket launch in Florida, or going to historic places like Williamsburg, Virginia, or places like these. (One little aside: My older daughter ,as a child, would complain about going to historic places too much. "No more history trips", she'd complain. Ironically, all those years later, she got her PhD in American History and teaches history to Special Education students. Who Knew??)

            We were luckier than some families: the girls loved going to all of these trip places, so they tended to amuse themselves in the back of the car.  That is, at least, on those trips that didn't result in our getting off at wrong exits, winding up on "No Outlet" or  dead-end streets. They didn't even seem to mind it when, while driving, we'd get caught in an unexpected rain or sudden snowfall. But what drove them crazy  was when Daddy, while driving  along, said  things like "Should've  gotten off at the last exit 20 miles back".                                                                                                                          

            It was then when we'd begin hearing those choice, childhood, stuck-for-long-periods-of-time-in -the-backseat-of-the-car words: "Are we there yet?" or Daddy are we lost.. again?.. And, with the anger, annoyance and frustration seething up in him, he'd smile and in a reassuring tone say :"Of course we're not, girls. I was just checking out some other ways of getting where we're going. Just look out of the windows and you'll see different roads and places and things we don't see by us. You know that it's always fun to explore."

That's another good word he'd say to them: "Exploring".  What that meant in real life was: "Daddy's hopelessly lost  and getting fed up going around in circles and (yes, you know what's coming) I still won't ask anyone for directions!" And you know that when he put his foot down, there was no  changing of his decisions.. no matter how we three tried..

            Sometimes the girls would point out people and/or places as they drove by.  They'd say "Oooo  Daddy, why don't you ask that guy at the gas station? He looks nice, and he'll probably know the directions ( to the hotel, farm, attractions, etc.). Please Daddy.  We're getting tired and bored back here.  We want to get out and walk around a little."

            When he'd heard them speak like that for the last time,  he'd finally give in, making the supreme sacrifice,  and pull the car over, get out and (Spoiler Alert : Dirty words coming) ask for help and directions! I told  you that dirty words were coming.

            The three of us knew how much it killed  him to ask anybody, anywhere for assistance   but we also knew that by doing so, we'd finally get to where we were heading..and in one piece.

            That was all the way back then.

            Now the girls have grown, graduated from college and gotten married.  But, believe it or not, whenever they're in the back of our car today,  they know that , at some time during the ride, their father will inevitably say " I think I should've gotten off back there."  And, inevitably, they'll tell him to ask for directions!                                                                                                  
            Oh, and there's one more thing to mention:

            Now, in our car, we have a GPS!  This is meant to help and give us specific directions  for our one-day trips. Great idea, right??

            Well, the other day, we were driving, and the voice on the GPS said "Traffic up ahead.  "Turn off at the next exit as an alternate route!"  So, what did he do?  He looked away ahead of us and did not see the traffic. He said "I don't have to listen to everything that the GPS says ."He even ignored advice from an inanimate object!   So he stayed on the road we were taking.

            Guess what happened : He did not  listen to the GPS, Heaven forbid, drove past the alternate  route exit ,and wound up stuck in traffic for one whole hour!!  And what can you imagine that our  Mr. Know-It-All, I-Don't Need-Any Help-From Anybody-When-It-Comes-To-here-I'm-Driving- Driver have to say? By now you still don't have any idea what he might have said? Really?

Well  here it is:

            "I think we should have listened to the GPS and taken that other route!"

            Surprised, are you?

            No, not me.. not for 45 years. Yes, as of St. Patrick's Day 2018, we've been married for 45 years.  It's not that I'm saying I deserve "the red badge of courage" sometimes, but maybe I do. I know that I really have nothing to complain about when it comes to my husband.  He happens to be the most giving, most honest, most helpful , most devoted and most caring guy that ever lived. I truly consider myself the luckiest wife in the world. There just is, and, as I've mentioned, has always been, that little issue with him. GRRRR....

            And so now you've learned the answer to "I have a list and a map. What can possibly go wrong?"

            Hmm ..if  I only had those dollars...hmm..

I'm the 68-year-old wife (45 years) of a great guy, and mom of 2 fabulous girls (married 11 weeks apart in '13).  Until old age kicked in, I was a 20-year league bowler who scored a 259 clean game/630 series. All that means is I was GREAT for 1 day out of 20 years!  That's me...in a nutshell...

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