Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fearless? or just Stubbornly Stupid?

I’d planned on a Cleaning Manuscript post, and I’ll get to that tomorrow or next day, but I learned yesterday that perhaps I’m a little bit fearless, or maybe a little bit crazy or stupid, or all

Yesterday I traveled to Chattanooga to tape The Writer’s Show. The plan was: I would drive the 3 hours 20 minutes to Chattanooga—there is our NC rockslide closing off I-40 to TN, so I knew I needed to take a different route that added a bit of time. I’d do the two-hour taping thing for a 30 min show, and then drive the 3 hr 20 min back home. I’d leave the house at 10AM and be home by 7:30ish. Huhn, well, didn’t work out that way.

I started out on a route, part of which I’d never been on before. I suppose that’s a little fearless—me alone in my Boopmobile with only a vague idea of where I was going. I’m slipping along, music blaring, moonroof opened once it warmed up, and feeling pretty danged good. Making good time, too, until I passed into TN and oh oh—All of a sudden a sign read: I-75 Detour (apparently there was a rockslide there, too, that I didn’t know about and neither did MapQuest). I made the split second decision to turn off the highway and follow the detour, really unsure, but, well *shrug.* Where that detour took me was on hwy 68 – a sometimes curving scenic route. Most of the time I was the only one on the road. I drove, and drove, and drove, still unsure that I was going the right direction to find I-75.

There’s this weird thing when one drives in the mountains: East/West, North/South are sometimes kind of wonky. Can’t always depend on making sure you are following E/W, N/S and that is at times disconcerting. I kept on the road, beginning to sweat a little when I realized it was 1:30 and I hadn’t come to I-75. When I finally reached I-75, I couldn’t believe it – 66 more miles to Chattanooga! Oh geez! The detour had added over an hour to my trip. At that point, I wasn’t even sure I should have taken the detour.

I made it an hour late to the taping, but when I’d earlier called, the interviewer, Joan, had told me not to worry, she had the studio until at least five. I ran in, after five hours on the road, only breakfast in my stomach, hardly any water (no bathroom breaks on little highways were you aren’t sure there are bathrooms!), and we immediately did the show (which will air first Sunday in April, I believe, but will also be available after—I’ll provide links later).

I finished at 5PM, and called GMR to say, “I’m staying overnight—I’m simply too exhausted to drive back without knowing if it’ll take me through a detour or what.” He said the NC state police said it was clear, but to double check. Double check with whom? I had no one to double check at that point.

And what did Kat do? I pointed my Boopmobile in the direction of home. And guess what? There was a detour on the way back, too; I had done the right thing in making that split decision. Thing is, though, on the way back, it routed me a different way, and as I turned into the detour, it took me back in the direction I’d just come, except on a lonely highway. Ugh. Oh well. I noticed someone behind me didn’t take the detour and I had moment of worry then brushed it off. Finally, up ahead – Yes! Highway 68—but it read “South 68” and I was supposed to be going North—North East. However, remember what I said about N/S-E/W. I had to take the chance and take it. It was the way I needed to go, I was sure of it. I just turned and flew in the Boopmobile.

As it began to grow dark, I worried I’d miss a turnoff. Another 4 or 5 hours on the road due to detours after the day I’d had, well, let’s just say I was feeling a little delirious.

The funny thing is, how I finally knew I was on the right road going the right direction even though it was “South”—I passed a black Shetland Pony and thought, “Hey! I saw that pony earlier today.” And then later, “Hey, I remember that orange garbage bag on the side of the road!” and “That dog, I remember that dog!” “There’s the cemetery!” Yeah, I took what road signs I could get to comfort me in the knowledge I was on the right road in the right direction! It was growing dark, and I wanted to be back on 64/74 East before dark. I was flying, all right.

It suddenly occurred to me that I had taken a lot of chances. That I’d just shrugged my shoulders, turned on the highways and detours and interstates and “hoped for the best . . .” that “eventually I’ll get somewhere . . .” That I was all by myself traveling on unfamiliar sometimes lonely roads, with detours and bypasses galore, and I didn’t freak out. The only time I ‘broke a sweat’ was when I thought I’d be late for the taping. Other than that, I just pointed the car and drove. I had a few moments of wondering if a sudden new rockslide would be up ahead as I turned a curve—there were lots of rocks and mini-slides along the highways on the sides of the road. But I gripped the wheel and sometimes my jaw, and Just Did It.

Something stubborn and intense and ‘throwing caution to the winds’ took over and I was determined to get there and get back, all in one day, and I was going to find my way and that was that. And somehow I did. Somehow trusting my instincts and just thinking, “It HAS to be this way; where else can I go?” When I knew there may be other places I could go and I could be in the wrong place heading to who knows where. But, I thought, I’ll be SOMEwhere. And if I became lost, then I’d deal with it. But I didn’t become lost. I did it. Somehow.

What about you? Ever done something you know may be a little stupid, or fearless, and you surprise yourself? Or done something “Fearless” and think back with a, “I can’t believe I did that . . .” But are proud you did nonetheless?


Teresa said...

Sorry the trip was such an ordeal!

As to doing something fearless . . . yeah, when I started my second novel and decided I wanted to try writing for publication again! Hee! ;-)

Shrinky said...

You are never truly lost if you have a full tank of petrol (easy for me to say, living on an island less than 35miles long). Glad you made it back all in one piece.

I am the Queen of stupid as far as taking unecessary risks go, I must have a whole fleet of guardian angels keeping watch over me!

Susan R. Mills said...

I do something stupid just about every day. Sometimes I regret it, but most of the time things turn out okay. Glad you made it home okay.

Titus said...

What a day (and night, obviously)!
I am one of those demented "I know the petrol/diesel light is flashing, but I'm sure I can make it to the next motorway services" people. Even when I have no idea if it's 15 or 50 miles to the said services.
I don't know why I do it, but I suspect there may be a risk-taker gene in each and every one of us.

Glynis said...

Sounds like natural driving conditions in Cyprus! LOL
Glad you got home safe and sound.

Deb Shucka said...

What a day you had! I'm not at all surprised that you did something so fearless. This year for me is my big act of fearlessness - one I renew each day. So glad you made it home safe and sound. Looking forward to hearing your show.

Terri Tiffany said...

You are one brave lady!! I would have HATED being where I don't know where I am-call me a coward but I wouldn't have gone alone in those mountains!