This is a brief journey into the random thought processes of my feeble mind. It is neither a cautionary tale nor is it meant to be instructional. If there is a message, it might be this: Wear a helmet when you’re young.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon I was taking Fozzie for his second ‘tinkle on everything near the sidewalk’ walk of the day. A lovely young woman in a car stopped opposite us and asked for directions to Rita Drive.
There are two problems with asking me for directions. First, I don’t navigate that way. I know where I’m going and all the paths to get there, but few of the names of streets, roads, highways, or byways on the route. Second, I’m horrible with names. It has plagued me my entire life. Even my wives had to wear name tags for the first few years.
I had to admit to the woman that I’d never heard of the street, thus keeping a perfect record of not being able to help a single one of the dozens of lost motorists who have had the misfortune of stumbling upon me to their destination over the course of 59 years.
After being completely useless and missing a rare chance for an old goat to impress a young lady, I determined to look up the street on Google Maps after the Foz had finished anointing the neighborhood.
Arriving home, I thought I’d better finish the chapter I’d started on World War II history before wasting an hour on the computer. Once on the “machine that sucks the life out of everything,” I did my usual routine of checking my three email accounts, answering a couple of the less annoying messages, checking weather radar for the entire country and local area, and finally playing some solitaire.
It was suppertime so I logged off, forgetting all about Rita. Well, there was always tomorrow.
The next morning after my morning paper and just before my shower, I logged in again to search for Rita Drive. After completing a request for help on a site for which I am the webmaster, and visiting all those email accounts and satisfying my fetish for weather radar, I signed off. I forgot about Rita again.
So I logged back in and remembered I hadn’t entered some information into a database. Then I recalled I hadn’t checked the temperature forecast for the week. Logged out again. Still no search for the now officially neglected Rita.
After my shower, I logged on to start my work day and finally searched for Rita Drive.
It’s three streets from me, but I’ve never traversed it and wouldn’t have remembered the name if I had. Worse, there is now a young woman who thinks I’m a lunatic, roaming an unsuspecting neighborhood with an incontinent dog and no idea where I am.
She’d be correct.
Carl Sullenberger looks at the world from a skewed perspective and expresses a humorous view of life through the prism of his past and present. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.