Ways to Lose Me


Have you ever said to a person giving you complicated instructions, “You lost me”? There are many ways to lose me because I don’t follow verbal instructions well; I need to write things down. Ask me to divide 444 by 12 and I start looking for a pencil.

When I plan a road trip, I print maps, program the GPS and make sure my cell phone is fully charged in case I need help. North Texas is often in the national news because of some traffic mishap that halts a five-mile line of cars, so one needs to have a detour plan at all times.

When a friend and I decided to go to a ladies retreat in Denton, Texas, I said I would drive if she would navigate. She’s lived in the area many years and been to Denton more than once. She also hates to drive in the rain or the dark or heavy traffic, so she was amenable to my proposal.

Because plans can change and things happen, I also printed maps, programmed the GPS and charged the phone.

My husband, knowing how easily I get lost, told me to call him if I got confused in the least. He also insisted I call him when we started home, so he could check his traffic app and reroute us if necessary.

We made it to Denton just fine, and had a wonderful weekend of worship and encouragement and fun at Lewisville Lake. Then we started home.

It was raining just a bit; traffic was heavier than one might anticipate on a Sunday afternoon.

First rattle out of the bag, I thought we should turn right but my friend insisted we go straight.

“See the sign?” she said, pointing, “It says I-35 South to Dallas.”

“But the GPS is telling me to turn,” I protested, albeit feebly. I have little confidence in the GPS and even less in my “gut feelings” for navigation. So we got on I-35 and headed south to Dallas.

Less than half a mile down the road, the GPS voice said, “Exit right!”

We postulated about why it would say that, and once again overruled the machine.

“Exit right!” she said at the next exit and the next. My friend and I discussed all the negative things we’d heard about GPS systems getting people lost. I protested a little that, though she (the woman’s voice in the machine) often took me on odd trips, she always got me home.

Finally, at Lewisville, I exited right, pulled into a shopping center, and called Dan.

“I’m at the Lewisville exit off 35,” I explained, “and the GPS keeps telling me to exit every mile or so. Is this a good way to go?”

My husband advised that we could go through Lewisville and get home but it was certainly out of the way. He asked if I programmed our address in correctly. (Big sigh.) He recommended we get back on the freeway and ignore the machine.

I turned the computer voice volume down and we traveled on. After an hour of driving south on I-35, my friend interrupted our ongoing conversation with, “Uh, I don’t know what happened but we’re in Dallas!”

Now my built-in logic kicked in and I wanted to say, “Well, duh, if you take I-35 to Dallas, isn’t Dallas where you wind up?”

Dallas skyline

I don’t know what happened, but we’re in Dallas!

Instead, I started laughing. “Really?” I said, “Is this Dallas? I’ve always wanted to go to Dallas but I was intimidated by the traffic.”

In between bursts of silly giggles and carefully navigating heavy traffic at 70 miles per hour, I admired the buildings and saw as much of downtown as I could absorb.

We found a sign that said I-30 West to Fort Worth and made it home in about another hour.

While I drove, I remembered that there are TWO legs of I-35 South starting in Denton. There is a West leg to Fort Worth and there is an East leg to Lewisville, Dallas, Waxahachie and so forth. They meet up way south of the metroplex, lose their E and W designations, and go on south to Waco, Austin, San Antonio and Laredo, on the Mexican border.

My friend and I lost an hour of our day but we got home safely, I saw Dallas and realized I can drive in their scary traffic. We didn’t wind up in Waco or Mexico. I also discovered another way to lose me—just ignore the GPS!

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About janets123

Children's writer, newspaper columnist, essayist, poet, storyteller
This entry was posted in Short Takes on Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ways to Lose Me

  1. Mo says:

    Hah! Many years ago (I was driving the new ’78 Buick) I had to go south of Dallas. I’d noted the route on my map (pre GPS) and knew where my exits were supposed to be. Sigh. The names and the numbers did not agree, and I wound up on I-35 in downtown Dallas at 5 PM going home traffic. I survived, but my knuckles were white for weeks! Sympathies — and congratulations on successfully navigating the route home.

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