I’m As Lost As The Folks On Gilligan’s Island

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I have always enjoyed driving. Actually that is only true when there is perpetual forward motion. I am defining forward motion to be commensurate to at least the posted speed limit. I don’t do slow or stop-and-go and I disdain do-overs. I’m only three-lines into my blog and I’m already inadvertently providing misleading information. I said: “I don’t do…” but in reality I have a truckload (pardon the pun) of experience doing slow or stop-and-go. And yes, I’ve been known to engage in a do-over.

I’d almost prefer to be lost and not know it than to hear the irritating sound of “rerouting” coming out of my car’s GPS. Yesterday morning as I was pouring my coffee at my brother’s home, he suggested topic for today’s blog. I should have written it down, but it was closely akin to “I’m as lost as the folks on Gilligan’s Island.”

I hadn’t thought of Gilligan’s Island for years. Do you remember it? It wasn’t nearly as good as Route 66. Gilligan’s Island was a television series about a group of people stranded on a small island. Pardon the pun, but they were going nowhere. In fact, I can’t remember that they ever got off of Gilligan’s Island. Didn’t the series end without the folks being rescued?

Route 66, in contrast, was an on-the-road adventure of two young men going across the country in a Corvette convertible. In the process, the two guys took odd jobs along their journey. They did everything from toiling in a wine vineyard in California to working as crewmembers on a lobster boat in Maine.

Do you get the theme of where I’m headed with this? Movement and forward motion always rank higher with me than being stopped or stranded. Wednesday night before calling it a day, my brother drew me a map reflecting directions from his house to the freeway headed to Rogers, Arkansas. In addition, he gave me verbal instructions on the route to Rogers. He cautioned me that it wasn’t just a straight shot. I’d be on a freeway, toll road, freeway and then I’d turn north on Highway 51. Okay, so I didn’t hang on to every word he shared. After all, I’ve got a GPS in my car. Surely it would route me to Rogers.

Thursday morning, instead of leaving it to chance, my brother decided to lead me to the freeway to launch my start to Arkansas. Actually, I was glad he did. I never would have found it because of the distance. I would have given up and thought I was lost. As he waved me on in the direction of the freeway, I smiled and thought to myself: “Larry is incredibly thoughtful. Either that or he was being cautionary to ensure I made it out of town.” That put a smile on my face.

Okay, so here’s the dilemma? When it appeared there was a contrast between the verbal instructions Larry provided and the electronic directions appearing on the GPS screen, which direction do you take? I opted to take the exit to Hwy 51 North and do it the way I perceived Larry said to go. I ignored the “make a U-turn and go back” messages from the GPS. Eventually, the GPS opted to go with “Rerouting” and I was back on a plan. Whose plan, I don’t know.

To say that it was a wake-up call for me is an understatement. There was something energizing about being on a two-lane country road. I hadn’t traveled far before I thought, “I’m enjoying this.” It was not nearly as boring as driving on the freeway. It was like being in the midst of civilization. I could almost momentarily envision what life was like for the people whose homes I passed and the small communities I drove through. It didn’t even bother me that the speed limit was 45 mph most of the way. Actually, there were lots of turns where 20 mph was a stretch. Okay, so here’s the deal. I was traveling as fast as I could safely travel. I found it refreshing.

In case you’re not reading between the lines, I was as lost as a goose in a snowstorm. Somehow it didn’t seem to matter. The GPS had rerouted and I was still getting directions. Before the journey concluded, I got routed back to the freeway or toll road I previously had opted to leave. Much later I discovered the intended exit for Hwy 51. All I can say is that the drive wasn’t boring. I was in perpetual forward motion. Maybe that’s what matters most to me. I don’t do slow and I don’t do stop and go. I like to move forward. Larry was right. Maybe I am as lost as the folks on Gilligan’s Island.

Did I mention that it was a much longer drive than I anticipated? Initially, the GPS predicted it would take 2 hours and 4 minutes to get from Broken Arrow, OK to Rogers, AR. In actuality, it took me over 3 hours. I’m not blaming the GPS and I’m not blaming the thoughtful directions offered by my brother. I could have followed both and made the trip in two hours and 4 minutes. It was when I went out “not knowing” that I messed up. How was I to have known there was more than one place to connect with Hwy 51?

In the course of the morning, there was a large sign I passed as I entered a freeway or toll road that I can’t get out of my head. Trust me, I paid tolls at several places along the route yesterday. Getting back to the sign, it read: “DON’T HIT OUR WORKERS – AVOID A $10,000.00 FINE”.

“DON’T HIT OUR WORKERS – AVOID A $10,000.00 FINE” is strange verbiage for a sign. I had the thought: “If I ran over someone with my car, the least of my problems would be a $10,000.00 fine”. How about criminal charges for involuntary manslaughter or vehicular homicide? How about simply having to live with the fact that you ran over someone? I can think of any number of things more important for me to avoid than a $10,000.00 fine.

Today, as I head back to Texas, I hope the route is straight and the speed is fast. I’m ready to be back home.

All My Best!

Don

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