My wife loves to have big family dinners whether it’s for Thanksgiving or Christmas or just because the sun is shining and there’s a bogo special on steaks at the supermarket. The only problem is as the nieces and nephews get bigger we need more table space and that’s why I heard Jeanie call out, “You’ve got to go over to Sandy’s to pick up a card table and four chairs. I’ll write down her address.”
I’m almost out the door when I realize I’m blocked. “Hey, somebody with a blue whatever the hell that is has me blocked in the driveway.”
My brother-in-law yells out, “That’s mine, it’s a loaner, my car’s in the shop getting the radio adjusted. The keys are in stuck in the visor.”
I think I know pretty much where I’m going as I head out but then when I go to enter the address in the car’s navigation system I see that this blue whatever has nothing but a radio and then when I reach to get my phone I realize that it’s still sitting at home in the charger next to my keys.
I’m okay, no big thing, don’t panic, so I don’t have a navigation system, I can do this, I think. This is just like Lewis and Clark heading out to frontier points unknown except in my case, I’m alone, Clark isn’t here. In my case I can’t ask an Indian to help me on my journey because there are no Indians in these parts only Pakistanis and without my iPhone and its translation app there’s no sense in stopping at the Mini Mart up ahead to ask for directions.
I pull over to plan my next step and after sitting there lost for what seems like hours I see a guy on the sidewalk running toward me. I get out and call, “Can you help me?”
His eyes come up from the sidewalk and open wide as he pulls the ear buds out of his ears. “Hey man, I don’t have any money.”
“No, no. I don’t have a navigation system and need directions”
“Oh, wow”, he says as he pulls the plug on the ear buds and switches off his music. Snoop Dog?
He opens his navigation app and asks for the address. I tell him where I was headed but that now instead of trudging on that I just want to get back home.
“Here, Dorothy, take this down.”
“I don’t have my phone.”
“Get a paper and a pencil.”
“Why would I have paper and a pencil?”
“Right. Then you’re going to have to memorize the directions.”
He clicks on the navigation app and I hear that familiar voice that is going to get me home. Why is it that an English accent is comforting when we want directions or are buying auto body scratch remover off an infomercial? I can almost see the Union Jack fluttering in the breeze as she begins, “If possible, make a U-turn.”
“U-turn, got it.”
“Drive 2000 feet.”
“U-turn, 2000 feet.”
“Turn left at the light.”
“Proceed 500 feet.”
“U-turn, 2000 feet, left turn, proceed 500 feet.”
“Arrive at destination.”
Thank you dear stranger and thank you dear English lady, and off I go.
As I pull into our driveway my wife is standing there, “Where have you been?
“I’ve been trying to get home.”
“What? Where’s the table and chairs?”
“You know, Jeanie, before you send me out for something maybe you should look in your own backyard. Because if it isn’t there you didn’t really need it.”
“Is that right?”
Sitting in the blue loaner eating a hot dog while everyone else enjoys a steak dinner in my backyard isn’t all that bad. At least I’m home and, “Oh, there there’s no place like home.”