Thursday, July 23, 2009

Isn't It Surprising My 'Re-Posts' Are Both About People and Not Art? Or Maybe Not Surprising.

Seth at The Altered Page has let us have another chance to "repost" a blog page or two. I "talk" so much I'll only post one.

Thursday, December 6, 2007 Not Alone in the Dark.

IT was a dark and stormy night. Really, it was!
It was pitch dark, pouring rain and I was leaving Clackamas on the right highway headed in the wrong direction: north instead of south. There was no turning back. I knew what eventually lay in front of me. It wasn’t going to be pretty, either. It would involve three lanes o f traffic, with more vehicles constantly merging onto the road on my right.
I stuck to the middle lane. All of us were eager to get home, especially those large pickups and SUVs — passing on both my right and left — throwing up water spray that covered my windshield. The wipers were going rapid fire, “swish, click, swish, click.”
Northward I flew, saying aloud “I can do this!” Again, aloud, I spoke to my fell ow drivers: “We all just want to get home safe.”
The radio was off. I couldn’t concentrate on anything but staying in my l ane and remembering to breathe.
Parkrose exit. I could have gotten off there. Powell - another exit with a name I knew. I pi ctur ed the long stretch of Powell Boulevard and the bridge to the other side of Portland.
The freeway seemed to collapse in length and become shorter and shorter as the minutes went by. The airport exit came up before I knew it. I would have to get off this road soon or end up in Washington.
The airport exit! I knew the airport. I could find my way home from the airport. I had gone out of my way by a long shot, but from there I knew I could find my way home.
Unfortunately I turned off at Cascade Station, thinking it was the first parking area for ov ernight or weekly parking at the airport. I didn’t know it was a humonguous new shopping center with stores for almost anything you might or might not need.
I considered going in and asking for directions, but something akin to a Y chromosome kicked in. If I asked for help I would be admitting defeat: “I couldn’t do this alone.”
I have a difficult time asking for help, but that’s too long a story.
I did call my husband on my cell phone, however, to let him know I might be late getting home. I had called him when I left Clackamas.
“Where are you now?” he asked.
“I’m out by the airport. Yes, I can see it from here. I’m at Cascade Station, near that new Ikea store. Oops! Someone’s in back of me. Gotta’ go.”
I dropped the phone into my lap and drove off. Ahead of me was a Subaru in a right turn only lane. I saw a blue sign: I-84. Things were looking up. When the light changed we both turned right and then stopped at another light. I decided to trust the Subaru and followed its taillights when the light turned green. Soon we were on I-84 ... going in the wrong direction.
Sandy Boulevard. Another familiar street. I abandoned my friend in the Subaru and left the freeway. Now I was on Sandy, headed east or west. Your guess would have been as good as mine. No daylight; no sun to show me my way home; no stars either. Only more rain.
My cell phone rang. It was my husband asking “Where are you now?”
“I’m headed down Sandy,” I said. “Say, there’s an adult toy shop. Need anything?”
I don’t know who I was trying to reassure with this attempt at humor, him or me.
I stopped at a light then. There was a car beside me on my left and I glanced over at the intersection of the one-way cross street looking for information and saw a sign that read “City Center.” Yes!
“I’m at an intersection,” I said, “and there’s a sign to city center.”
“Take that,” he said. “You can find your way back that way.”
However, to go that way I would need to cross three lanes of traffic — one beside me on my left and two other oncoming lanes. I remembered my driver’s education manual and knew this wasn’t an option. Then I spotted a motel on the right just through the intersection.
“I’ll bet I can turn into this motel, go through their parking lot and turn onto the one-way street headed toward downtown. Goodbye,” I said.
Soon I was hurtling toward “downtown” which turned out to be I-84 again, but in the correct direction. I got into the left hand lane to make sure I would get the Salem and, eventually, Beaverton exits.
Finally I was really on my way home. I was on my way to the safest place in the world. Why had I ever left it, I wondered.
That night, holding my husband's hand and trying to fall asleep, I was amazed to have traveled all that distance and come to rest, at last, here in this snug harbor. A million thoughts went through my head. They were all related to my trip and the “what if’s” that so often haunt us late at night.
What if I’d had an accident? What if I hadn’t been lucky?
But I had been. I was lucky to find my way home safely, lucky to be snug in a safe little house with someone I love. Lucky, lucky, lucky.
I believe in skill. I believe in intelligence. But I’ll trust lucky any day.

14 comments:

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I love your post. I was on the edge of my computer chair, hoping you would make it OK. And you did. One thing you didn't ask yourself: "what if I hadn't had a cell phone?"

femminismo said...

Yes, that's a good questions. What if? That comforting voice helped me a lot! - Jeanne

Candace said...

Jeanne, those are questions I ask myself off and on along with others I won't share but -- ahem, they deal with plane crashes nd spectacular meteor misadventures!

Isn't the "snug harbour" best after that type day? (I do love that photo!)

Take care.
Candace in Athens.

grrl + dog said...

I do enjoy coming with you on your adventures...especially ones with a happy ending.

3rdEyeMuse said...

often my getting turned around like that has lead to my renewed faith in myself ... though that realization sometimes wait till a while after I am safely at my ultimate destination.

I'm glad you figured things out and made it safely home ... AND ...

... what if going the correct way in the first place would have lead you into a horrible accident ... perhaps you were meant to take the extra long way home.

femminismo said...

You are so right. I have always been comfortable with being stuck in slow traffic, believing it might be meant to keep me from something much, much worse than looking at an irritating bumper sticker. I must still believe in guardian angels. Jeanne

MrCachet said...

Thank you for your very kind comments on my blog. Seth has a way of putting people together, doesn't he?!

ArtPropelled said...

It was a dark and stormy night....that sent a shiver down my spine. Glad you got home safely. We treasure home so much more after something like that don't we.

notmassproduced said...

Hi - thank you for your visit and comment.

Nice blog - I'll enjoy popping back again and again. I'm so glad ur car ordeal ended safely.

PCarriker said...

As a pilots wife who travels standby, I can so relate to taking the long way home! Glad you arrived safely to your 'snug harbor'. I am from the Pacific Northwest, SeaTac area, and it is the home of my heart.

Mar said...

quite the story!!!! good story!

i get turned around all the time
the last big turn around fiasco for me was heading south when i should have gone north
and i didn't have a clue where i was having never been there..and then i didn't have a cell phone!

i sure would have liked 1 though!

thanks for visiting 2!! times and i hadn't been by here inbetween..i am a little behind
:)

and WAY behind since my last visit !

so gonna go play catchup!

diane said...

Dorothy really knew what she was talking about didn't she?
There REALLY is no place like home!

donna said...

This used to happen to me (a lot)too, back in the days of yore, before I got the GPS. (wink)

Seth said...

Really captivating story and a great one to repost. Thanks!