I'm not a good driver.
DID YA HEAR THAT? I'm. Not. A. Good. Driver.
(Insert obvious and easy joke about women drivers here.)
But here's the thing. It's not the functionality of the car I struggle with and it's not the actual rules of the road. I don't get tickets or have wrecks. I try REALLY hard to be a good merger. I use my blinkers! In fact, on a related tangent, I was once under the impression that cars could not turn unless the blinker was engaged. I had watched my parents drive and I just assumed that the steering wheel had to get the OK from the blinker that it was time and only then could there be any turning or lane-changing. I distinctly remember asking my Dad about this when he was teaching me to drive. And I remember him debunking my theory and wisely telling me that it was alright to operate as if that were true. I still think about that conversation sometimes when I use my blinker in my parking lot at work or when there's just a really big curve in the road.
It's the efficiency. Those most familiar with my driving (and mostly those who might be married to me) would describe me not so much as a "bad" driver, rather not a strategic one.
I have no argument. Which is rare, I assure you.
I'm not a hazard out there or anything. I just don't always think things through. This is mostly true with respect to directions. You see, if there is a longest, most indirect way to get from Point A to Point B, I will find it. Effortlessly. I'm not lost, mind you, but I sure as heck have a knack for taking the long way. It's not that uncommon for me to be driving us somewhere and Jeff will just say, "where are you going?" — and only then do I realize I might be going in the honest to goodness WRONG direction.
A few weeks ago this came up at work. A group of us was headed to lunch, and we had to take more than one car. I volunteered to drive which I do without even thinking. I hate driving other people around mostly because I'm constantly worried one of them will notice how terrible I am at the whole driving thing. (My friends and coworkers are all laughing right now. They know. They've known for years.) But I suppose I'm just intrinsically helpful — I end up driving almost every time.
So I volunteered to drive a few people to The Catfish Hole. It's a few exits south of my office, and I hopped on the bypass. I didn't think anything of it when we all left together, but my car was the last to arrive at the restaurant. I also didn't think anything of it when we all left the restaurant to head back to work, and again I was the last one to arrive. Only then did my friends feel the need to ask.
"Umm. Why did you go through Johnson?"
And only then did it occur to me to consider the best way to get back and forth to The Catfish Hole.
Again — not lost! Just not "strategic".
So a couple things about this map, and I use the term "map" loosely. That east-west road at the top, through Johnson — yeah, it's a tiny little two-lane with a speed limit around 30mph and a few small town stoplights. The road just south? It's a big, healthy highway that will let you go around 60mph. No lights.
I go through Johnson.
I don't KNOW why. But I do. I ALWAYS do. Someone must have told me once that it was a cut-through, a shortcut. Our house is on the same exit as The Catfish Hole, and I've been driving that same inefficient route to work for over five years.
I tell myself I don't like the mall traffic. I tell myself I don't like the big, bad stoplight at Joyce. I tell myself I enjoy the quiet, Mayberry-esque feeling of downtown Johnson.
But the truth is my absolute best excuse is that I stop at Sonic every morning. And that it's more convenient to just go through Johnson. "It's on the way."
Here's the Sonic.
Yeah. TOTALLY out of my way otherwise.