Queen of Shortcuts

Wrong Turns

When was the last time you got lost? Was it an enjoyable experience, or a stressful one? Tell us all about it.

wrong-wayI’ve always loved the adventure of driving and seeing new places and new things, and when my children were younger, we used to have a lot of those adventures. For some reason, I’ve always deluded myself into believing that I had a good sense of direction. Yet, every time I test that great sense of direction, I fail it. Still, ever the eternal optimist, I keep trying…
Several years ago, I decided to test those great skills yet again. My children had gone to a youth meeting at a church out in the country, several miles from our home, and after picking them up, I announced that we would take a shortcut and get some pizza for a late night dinner, since there had been no time for dinner before they left. Both were excited about the pizza, but their response to my idea about a shortcut was met with far less enthusiasm. 
“Are you sure about this shortcut?” my son asked doubtfully.
“Why don’t we just go home the regular way?” my daughter interjected. “I’m really hungry!”
“I’ve got this,” I said confidently, “and the sooner we get home, the sooner we will have some pizza!” We usually turned left at the stop sign at the end of the road the church was on, but that never made any sense to me, when our home was in the opposite direction. Therefore, instead of turning left, I did the logical thing and turned right. I was certain this would shave a good five or six minutes off our trip home, and both of them would be singing my praises, when they got their pizza that much sooner!
The road we went on turned out to be much longer than I could have imagined. It went on and on and on… After riding down the road for ten minutes or so, I finally saw another road to turn on. Left seemed to be the next logical choice, so left we went, for another fifteen minutes. Of course, by now, I realized that my shortcut was actually much longer than if we had gone home the long way. If we had taken our regular route home, we would have been home in fifteen minutes, and by now, we had been on the road for twenty-five minutes, and I still wasn’t sure where I was. 
Nothing looked familiar, and sadly, at this point, there seemed to be no end in sight. Also, the natives were beginning to get restless. “Mom, this is lame,” my wonderful son said as he stated the obvious, “if you had gone home the regular way, we would already be home by now.”
“Mom,” came a whiny voice from the seat next to mine, “are we going to be home soon? I’ve got to go to the bathroom!”
“Well, just try to hold it, honey. We’re almost home,” I lied. I had NO idea where we were, but I didn’t want them to know it. I could already sense that a mutiny was about to take place if I didn’t soon figure out where we were and get us home the quickest way possible. I turned radio on, singing loudly along with the music, in a vain attempt to drown out their angry, mutinous voices. 
After riding aimlessly for more than thirty minutes, I finally came to a stop sign and saw a route number that I was familiar with. How in the world had I ended up nearly forty-five minutes away from home, and more importantly, how was I going to explain to my starving, mutinous crew  that there would be no pizza tonight, because by the time we made it home, the local pizza joint would be closed?
I chose the coward’s way out of this situation. I just turned on the road towards home, without saying anything. Why tell them anything until I had to? By now, my daughter was whining and wiggling frantically in the seat next to mine, “How much longer Mom? I don’t think I can wait!”
Frustrated, I took my eyes off the road for a minute to look at her, “Would you like me to stop so you can pee outside, here?”
Her eyes were a mixture of disgust, uncertainty and misery, as she shook her head in disdain, rolling her eyes at me like the obnoxious teenager that she was, “Really Mom? Do you really think I would pee by the side of the road? I’ll wait till we get home. Just please, hurry up and get us home!”
My kids were ecstatic when we finally reached the town next to ours. Soon, we finally pulled into our driveway that night, and I rushed to open the door for my poor daughter. My kids promised to forgive me for taking them on the longest shortcut EVER, and for getting home too late for pizza, provided that I promise to NEVER take them on a shortcut again. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just underestimated and unappreciated. After all, that night I gave them a childhood memory neither would ever forget, and though it’s been more than fifteen years ago, it never fails to put a smile on each of our faces whenever someone mentions the longest shortcut ever.
© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

3 responses to “Queen of Shortcuts

  1. Pingback: Poem / Poetry – “Dreaming Of Darkness Retreating” | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)·

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