Monday, September 27, 2010

being lost

I was telling a friend yesterday that I am legend in my family for falling, and for something else.  Getting lost.  Not while I am driving, but when I am on foot, which is worse, really, and I will explain why.

I can find my way anywhere in a car.  I might occasionally make a wrong turn but I just figure out where I need to go, where the sun is and use it like a compass.  I have sometimes amazed my family by telling them how to get here or there, where to turn, and so on.

Being on foot is a different matter.  Once my eyes are engaged on something and my brain gets focused on that something, I am a goner.  I'll share a couple times that still make my family say "keep an eye on Mom (Cathy) and don't let her out of your sight!'

The first time that stands out in my memory was Disneyland in Anaheim, California, when I was about 11 or 12...it was the last family trip we made together as a family that I can remember (I know Vicky our Memory Elephant will correct me if I am wrong).

We were walking around and had seen several attractions.  Disneyland in the 60's was an amazing place.  There was nothing else quite like it.  I was enjoying all the sights, and suddenly I spotted it.  The one thing that can make me forget where I am and who I am....

...a street artist doing caricatures of people.  My family was in front of me, and I was bringing up the rear (a dangerous position for me to be in, they found out that day).  They paused, looking at the artist, then strolled on.  I paused.  And stopped.  Dead in my tracks.  I was mesmerized.  So I watched.  Don't know for how long but when I looked up, I was alone.  I had a second or two of panic, then I went back to watching the artist.  I don't know exactly what I was thinking, but in my mind we would all eventually hook back up.

If you have ever been to Disneyland, the one thing you realize right away is how easy it is to get lost, and how hard it is to find your way around.  That is why they give you one of those printouts that says "you are HERE" and shows you how to get THERE.  I didn't realize that.  In my mind it was an easy place to get around, and I am not a worrier anyway, so I just stood there and watched the artist.  I can't remember how the family eventually found me, but I was found, and I am pretty sure they were all disgusted with me for interfering with their fun.  And I am pretty sure, knowing mum, that she smacked me good for it too.  My main memory of that day will always be the magic that artist worked with pastels and paper.

Fade to several years later and incident #2 in my life that got me in hot water with my family.  I was married,  and we were at the State Fair in Alabama with another couple, friends of ours.  We were all wandering around looking at stuff, and Steve suggested we go to the Exposition Hall and look at the handcrafts, preserves, and livestock.  So off we went. 

I did fine, I really did.  Steve knew by then to make sure to holler at me "Cathy keep up dammit!" every so often, but his fatal mistake?  Putting me in the back of the line.  Yep, I stopped to look at the stitching on some quilts, and when I looked up after just seconds, I was alone.

Holy!!!  By now I had been chewed on often in my life for getting lost, and I knew I was in big trouble...so instead of staying put and waiting for them to come back to find me, I took off to find them. 

Now any of you that have ever been to a state fair know that they usually are sprawled over many acres, and no rhyme or reason to how they are laid out.  The rides were on one side, entertainment and food scattered around, and the Exposition Hall was somewhere in the middle. 

My fatal mistake?  I left the Exposition Hall.  And started darting here, there and yonder (redneckese for all over the damn place).  I passed the Beer Tent, the games, the rides, went through the Exposition Hall several times, and stopped for a while to watch Country Boy Eddie play music with his band (he had a local morning show called, of course, The Country Boy Eddie Show, and I had never seen a real star up close)...the surprising thing to me was that even though his music sucked in the mornings, they could actually play some decent music (maybe Country Boy Eddie wasn't a morning person?).

I ended up wandering and searching, and about two hours later (yes it was that long...I distinctly remember because I was thinking Steve would divorce me for this one), Steve found me.  And cussed me, which I listened to quietly (what could I say to defend myself after all?  it was the quilt's fault?), and also to the other couple fuss disgustedly, even though they had given up after the first hour and gone off on their own to leave Steve to look for me.

The one bright star in the night was the fact that Steve had stopped at the Beer Tent after every circuit of the fairgrounds.  So he found me after about 10 Beers.  Which means he didn't cuss me long cause he was mellower than he would have been sober.

I hate Beer, but I will always love Beer Tents.
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