Tuesday, August 24, 2010
"In 200 feet...turn left..."
We've been back from our summer in Woodstock for almost a week now and the above monologue - which I heard from my navigation system all summer long - feels representative of how I feel being back in Los Angeles.
My Garmin was my co-pilot for the summer as I navigated the unfamiliar winding roads of the Catskills daily. I would tell it where I wanted to go and it would agree to take me there via roads it had predesignated as best for me. The agreement between us being that it knew the way and would get me there. All I had to do is obey.
I would drive down to the end of my street – ready to head out somewhere new – and it would tell me to "turn left."
But I would go straight. Just to see I could find a better way there. Maybe stumble upon some cute town.
My faithful Garmin would accommodate me and come up with a new plan for getting me to my desired destination. To get me back on track, it would tell me now to "Turn right."
And I would ignore it. Again.
I wasn’t trying to be difficult, I just wanted to see what else was out there – see what things I could find. I knew if I got REALLY lost I could rely on it to lead me down tiny streets, curvy roads and unknown highways to get me back where I was supposed to be.
But it was obviously getting pissed.
I'd imagine the unit speaking to me with increasing urgency and adding the word "bitch" to every command.
"In Point 5 miles, turn left...bitch."
I’d ignore her.
"In 2 miles, turn right...bitch."
I’d ignore her again.
"Go straight for 16 miles...bitch."
Okay. Okay. No need to be nasty…
And that's kind of what it's like being back in LA. I have lots of plans and ideas about the things I should be doing, the places I should be going and the scenic view I want to enjoy on my way there. But life in LA is on a completely different route. Different from the one ingrained in my brain this summer. And I am "recalculating."
Reestablishing the paths of my LA life is harder than I thought it would be. The routes I reflexively followed pre-Woodstock have gotten dusty and indiscernible with my absence. I want to “Turn left” and go on a hike up a mountain. But I am forced to “go straight” and take my daughter to gymnastics. I would like to “Turn Right” and take my kids frog catching in my friend Mari’s stream. But I have to "Turn left" and go buy my kids’ school supplies at Staples. I would LOVE to “Go straight” and find some pretty roads with tiny bakeries and fresh bread. But I have "stay right" to go to the supermarket and buy Lunchables.
I’m in the passenger seat now.
And my Garmin is having the last laugh.