I Don’t Get Lost, I Go Exploring

I took a little trip last night across the border.

I waited until dark and then I drove into the village of Skokie, IL.  I had a package to pick up at a FedEx shipping warehouse.

I figured while I was out there, I ought to pick up something I needed from Babies-R-Us, which is also out in the burbs.

So I hopped in my car with the box of wine I picked up from FedEx and drove further north and further west.

Once I realized I had taken the wrong route, I also realized I was in a place I’d never gone before, in a strange part of a town I rarely travel through.

Luckily, the street I was driving on is straight east-west, so it was just a matter of traveling back south and east.  I turned around in the parking lot of some suburban box store, and made a right at the next major-looking streetlight.

That’s when things turned weird.  As I headed south, the road forked and I took the eastern-pointing direction.  I wound up on a dark and winding residential track.

As I traveled through this no-man’s-land of driveways, lawns, and slight curves in the road, I lost my sense of direction.  The true-blue Chicago grid was both behind me and in front of me, and I wasn’t sure anymore if I was even going in the right direction, let alone on the correct path.

The streetlights grew further apart, and still the road twisted and turned.  I may as well have been in the middle of a forest on a cloudy, moonless night.  Trees obscured my vision, wind howled, and small animals ran amok in front of me.

I suddenly became aware of a pair of headlights that had been a safe distance behind me the whole time.  My blood ran cold.  My scalp started to tingle with fear and paranoia.  I wasn’t sure if it was just my mind playing tricks on me, but I could swear I saw a hitchhiker on the side of the road.  I zoomed past him without a second thought.

I leaned on the gas pedal.  I figured if I can’t outrun the murderous driver behind me, and if I’m just heading deeper into a jungle of my own despair, I may as well get it over with.  Or, similarly, if I was going the right direction, I’d get to Babies-R-Us faster.  In either case, it was better to speed.

Just then, in typical anti-climactic reality fashion, I found the street I was looking for.  I made a left and half a mile later I was in the right parking lot.

And since that night I’ve been thinking about the wild-turning road with no streetlights.  Who travels such a road but locals and Google Streetview trucks?  Certainly not passers-by such as myself.  At least not often.

But Devon and I are hoping to move to California someday soon, and when we do we will most likely wind up in a small town with twisty roads.

That’s a glimpse of the future, I keep thinking.  Only it will be warmer and less creepy.

Locals know the local roads.  Just like I know the potholes that make you turn your wheel to and fro in a city laid out in a straight grid.

They say home is where the heart is.  I say home is where you know the roads.


These guys know a thing or two about roads.

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