Tag Archives: maps

The Lost Wall of Mexico – Friday Fictioneers.

Nobody asked any questions at first. Although the unexplained structure was longer than the Great Wall of China, even the dog walkers ignored it. Newspapers speculated that his concrete monstrosity, was going to be a new mall. However, overnight, all became clear when the army moved in, and the border between Colorado and New Mexico closed.

At first, Trump said it was fake news. However, he finally had to admit there was a mistake. The map had been upside down. There was now a $US5.7 billion wall between Colorado and New Mexico. The new wall became known as “Mexico’s Revenge”.

……

100 words.

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields, where we write up to 100 words to a provided photo prompt. PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

This take was inspired by my own dreadful sense of direction and spatial awareness. You can’t be good at everything. Men can get quite self-righteous about their map-reading skills, knocking women who might happen to turn the map “upside down” to get where we’re wanting to go. So, this was a comic play on this.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

 

Driving to Newcastle …Mum’s Taxi Seeks Gold!

Shame I didn’t have the meter running yesterday. Mum’s Taxi clocked up some serious K’s (kilometers) driving to Newcastle for my daughter’s violin rehearsal, especially returning via the “scenic” route. However, being only ten years old, of course, she couldn’t pay the fare.Perhaps, she could find me a gold medal? I certainly deserved it!

Milly Violin

Before I delve into our travels, I should clarify that I was driving to Newcastle, Australia and NOT Newcastle in the UK… or anywhere else for that matter. Although I can get catastrophically lost, the last time I checked, the car can’t fly or swim. So, no matter how badly we got lost, we were still confined to the Australian continent! Phew! That’s a relief. Wandering into another country can get dangerous, and I’d hate to cause an international incident in addition to the usual road rage.

Newcastle is 168km North of the Sydney CBD and 110 KM up the freeway from home. As we have family in Newcastle, I’ve been up there quite a few times, but usually as a passenger. We were actually on the outskirts of Newcastle on the weekend, but that didn’t prepare me for finding yesterday’s rehearsal at The Junction, near Newcastle’s CBD.

All went well until we took the Newcastle turn off from the freeway and we pulled over at a servo (petrol station) to consult the map. My daughter had been on her iPad so far, which of course, does nothing to hone your map reading or navigational skills. I wrote out a list of streets for her to find and walked her through the route on the map. For some reason, I’d assumed she’d inherited her father’s sensational spatial skills and not my Blindis Mappis, or map blindness.

Big mistake. We’re driving along in very unfamiliar territory when she tells me she can’t read maps. That she couldn’t find where we were, where we were going or the all important Crudace Street where we need to turn right.

Meanwhile, I was peering through the windscreen trying to read street signs needing a magnifying glass. Of course, I only picked up the street names too late. Don’t you hate that?!

U-turn-permitted-cropped

Mind you, that’s why the U-Turn was invented. Indeed, my husband’s done quite a few U-turns over the years thanks to my navigation and I’m not mentioning a certain trip to Canberra, which nearly ended in divorce!

But, as I’m sure you can appreciate, the U-turn is a last resort. Missing your street can be incredibly stressful, especially when you’re on a main road. Moreover, although the sign should have been bigger, a miss always feels like a personal fail…a mistake. Nobody likes making mistakes, even when you’re used to it.

Abandoning the map, I get my daughter reading street signs. We never found Crudace Street but instead, she’s calling out names of streets further down our list. I don’t know what’s going on but Newcastle’s on the coast and we’re running out of road. Surely, we’re not going to drive into the sea looking for this !@#$% street??!!! Suddenly, I see our destination, Union Street, out the window. It wasn’t the route we’d planned, but we’re there.

I don’t know whether I was being too hard on Newcastle’s signage. However, despite The Junction’s popularity, I was surprised not to see one sign for the place. Isn’t that strange? Or, with my fixation on street signs, I might have missed them. Quite aside from the usual street signs and directions, I’d also been expecting a bit of a welcome. Wasn’t Newcastle expecting us? Hadn’t the Mayor stuck up a few extra signs for us, preferably in neon…such as: “Ro, turn here!..Left…right etc”

Apparently NOT!

Not unsurprisingly, as soon as we pulled up outside the school, I parked the car and wasn’t driving anywhere. I had 3 hours up my sleeve and set out to find a cafe on foot where I could write, read and chill out without getting lost.

DSC_2858

Hello Talulah. You wouldn’t believe I’d stumbled into Mum’s cousin’s restaurant. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there. Had lunch and wrote a short story and arrived back at the school in time to hear a full run through of their concert repertoire. It sounded heavenly en masse and I can’t wait…Sydney Opera House here we come! Thank goodness we know where that is! No navigation required.

Now that we’re back in the car, I can hear you pleading with me to drive straight home. Get out of there before we’re in a major accident, as our drive-by-feel tour of Newcastle continues. In that case, driving home would have been a no brainer. I just had to turn the car around, and drive out the way we came in. Simple Simon…even I could do that!

Except…(and as we know if there wasn’t an except, there wouldn’t be a story. I don’t need to write fiction to come up with plenty of complications!)

I wanted to buy myself a pair of ballet shoes and there was a Bloch’s store conveniently located in nearby Charlestown. We don’t have a local dance shop. So, you could say “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. However, this little excursion meant that we weren’t going back the way we came and trouble was looming. Just how lost could we get in one day?

You’d be surprised!

Spotting a huge Westfield Shoppingtown out the window, I didn’t even question whether we were at the right place and was very unimpressed to find out we were in the wrong suburb and Charlestown was still out there somewhere…lost.

Or, was it us?

By this stage, I was starting to wonder whether the ballet shoes were worth it. Somehow, I’d managed to live 36 years without a pair of ballet shoes. Yet, suddenly I had to get these shoes. There was such an urgency, a determination. I yearned to have my daughter with me when I bought them so we could do it together…the same way my mother came with me to try on my wedding dress. I wanted Miss to see me slip my huge clodhoppers into those dainty pink ballet shoes, pointing my toes and dancing away. Forget that I haven’t done ballet in 36 years. I had changed.

Charlestown Square

Finally found Charlestown Square shopping Centre.

Finally, we found Charlestown. Found Bloch’s and bought my shoes, satin ribbons, pink tights and some black dance pants. I was a real dancer and it was time to drive home.

Oh! If only I could slip into those same precious ballet shoes and tap my heels together saying: “there’s no place like home” and suddenly find us parked in the driveway at home.

Alas, no such luck! More caffeine required!

Worse still, we were on the slow road home, via the scenic route…the Old Pacific Highway. What with driving through 60kph zones, stop-start traffic lights and peak hour crawls, an hour’s journey stretched into two without even stopping to photograph the sunset over Lake Macquarie.

After all of this, I almost fell through the front door when we arrived home…a marathon driver falling over the finish line, dry retching and completely spent. While nobody would expect a marathoner to cook dinner straight away, I could forget that! Should’ve ordered takeaway. What with all these medals in Rio, surely they could spare a weenie gold medal for me?

I deserve it.

However, unfortunately driving Mum’s Taxi hasn’t become an Olympic sport.

Meanwhile, thanks to my daughter’s teacher, I at least had a thank you box of chocolates.

It was great to be appreciated!

Do you have any good getting lost stories? Of course, getting lost is an important part of travel and so many travel stories simply wouldn’t exist if we directly went from A to B!

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Are you sure we didn't miss the turn off?

Are you sure we didn’t miss the turn off?

The dogs love being able to run around at low tide when we go to Pittwater, Palm Beach. the rippled sand is pocked with soldier crab holes and as the sun sets, the place is quite a moonscape.

Bilbo (right) is striding straight ahead and while I was flicking through possible Rumi quotes, my husband suggested:

“Are you sure we didn’t miss the turn off?

I shouldn’t laugh.

My husband and I have had many explosive moments with me in the navigator’s seat. I don’t know why I always end up navigating because I get lost in the shower and even struggle to follow a map when I turn it the right way up (OK folks…I mean “upside down”.)

I know we probably should invest in one of those GPS thingies for the sake of our marriage but after experiencing the possibilities of neuroplasticity personally, I had hoped that with a bit of practice, that I’d miraculously find my way.

Moreover, I was also concerned that if I gave up, my sense of direction could even get worse. In that case, I might even need GPS to find my car parked in our own drive way.

I shouldn’t jest!!

Anyway, Bilbo looks hell bent on going straight ahead but Lady isn’t quite so sure: “Are you sure we didn’t miss the turn off? I can just see Bilbo, who is a much more introverted, serious dog grumbling back to her:

“We’re fine. I checked the map before we left. I know exactly where we are.”

Then I can see Bilbo quoting Daniel Boone:

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks”.

As much as I love John Lennon’s quote Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” sometimes, you just want to reach your destination!

Do you have any navigation dramas to share?

xx Rowena

Staying on Course III: Beyond Lost

I Don’t know whether I’m Arthur or Martha at the moment. It’s 10.30AM Monday morning and I’ve just staggered out of bed feeling incredibly whoozy and disoriented.

Geoff went back to work this morning and was up at 6.00am. I decided to get up and have breakfast with him before he headed back home for the rest of the working week. I did what at least appeared to me to be some amazingly inspiring spiritual writing and then went back to bed for a few hours. I’m now sitting back at my laptop to work through this morning’s writing effort with a cup of English Breakfast Tea and a chocolate chip cookie…part of a batch of biscuits I made for Church yesterday arvo.

Choc Pecan Cookies.

Choc Pecan Cookies.

Just to make sure you don’t get the wrong idea, I’ve never made biscuits for Church before and this is only the second time we’ve been to this little Church in Avalon and technically we’re “just visiting”. I know I sounds like a real try hard but they were starting up a new roster and with all the cooking we’ve been doing lately, I felt drawn to contribute. I’m really pleased I made the biscuits because they were a great ice breaker. After all, don’t you find that home-made food knits people together in a way that the bought stuff can’t? There’s something about making it with your own hands and the love you pour into your cooking that must give it some kind of unique DNA.

Another biscuit…

After all my kayaking and thoughts about goal setting of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about direction and the pros and cons of staying on course.  However, I don’t think that I’ve actually mentioned that I’m directionally challenged in any of these discussions. Indeed, I was even born facing the wrong direction. That’s right. I was born “sunny side up” facing up instead of down in what is called the posterior position. Naturally, I’ve concluded that this dodgy beginning has somehow set me up for life.  What hope did I have?

Geoff will confirm that my sense of direction has hardly improved. I turn maps “upside down” or should I say the right way up to navigate. In this regard, I’m hardly unique and I’m sure many of you will understand my exasperation with Google maps which insists on turning the map back around. They won’t let you hold the map “upside down”. What were those Google people thinking?!! This system was obviously designed by very single blokes who never go driving with women. Supergeeks! I knew it had to be the geeks! Technology and I also have an uneasy relationship and if my husband wasn’t a geek, I’d be totally convinced that the geeks are out to get me. Not that I’m paranoid!

I’m not going to go into the details of some of the navigational encounters I’ve had with Geoff, especially looking for hotels in unfamiliar cities after dark but I will mention Canberra which is generally known as a difficult city to navigate and there was a certain hotel which was supposed to be in Canberra but was actually in NSW which is like a different state and it was on a side road and wasn’t anywhere near where it was supposed to be. We drove passed that hotel at least 3 or 4 times trying to find it. We were seriously hovering on the very edge of divorce after that experience and all the manager cared about was getting the best marketing angle. Grr!

So you can see why I need some extra help with direction not just in terms of geography but also in terms of where my life is heading. It can also be a bit spatially challenged as well.

As much as I have my goals and can be exceptionally focused, like all of us I can also get lost. Sometimes, I get so lost that I can barely find my way home. As you know, I have a lot of medical issues so there are times where I’m seriously struggling on the home front with just about everything and then the kids also throw their hat in the ring. Miss refuses to brush her hair. One or both of the kids can’t find their shoes. They refuse to do their music practice, home work…everything! It is little wonder that I feel lost and my bubble crash lands back to earth with an audible “pop”.

Lost isn’t good but then there’s “beyond lost”.

You see, “beyond lost” is where you are rapidly speeding the wrong direction so completely and utterly focused on your goal that you’re oblivious to your real position…a very, very long way from where you’re actually meant to be. This sort of thing can so easily happen when people get swept up in a new idea and just go for it. Don’t listen to advice. Don’t learn from other people’s mistake. Switch off to anything negative. Just be positive! Ride the wave!

Hello!

Rather than being the exception, beyond lost seems the norm. There are a lot of lost and bewildered sheep out there wandering around with dents in their head.

Procrastination isn’t a good thing either but this is where balanced consideration comes in.

Geoff and I talked about this and it really is very hard to get the balance right. It is difficult to have that sense of direction and focus on a goal and yet also be able to juggle multiple hats. I really need to focus on my writing and getting these books I’ve been sitting on finished. At the same time, I also need to spend serious time with Geoff and the kids and really be focused on my health and recovery. Getting the balance right is going to take some serious consideration and constant monitoring to see that I stay on track. That my kayak isn’t veering off course. This will require a newly acquired vigilance and I think that had better start with replacing the battery in my watch. Keeping a better track of time is my first step. After all, that way I will have the best chance of leading a well-rounded life with the people I love while also pursuing my other passions.

Hmm. I’m sure you’ve probably heard all of this before.

That’s why I have the check list but I am who I am and that’s why it is yet another Monday and the check list isn’t set up and I haven’t even done the first thing on my to do list which is vitally urgent. I need to organise my blood tests for tomorrow. These are the big verdict blood tests…very important and the day is well and truly racing away. Talk about neglecting my priorities, going the wrong direction and dare I say it being “beyond lost” myself.

I guess this means that I am still a work in progress.