Round and Round about on the Roundabout

Most people, when faced with a three-hour car trip, manage to do it in three hours.

Do you see that stone wall ahead? That's pretty much what I was hitting, direction-wise. Evening Colors by Steve Henderson

But what is it my mother always used to say? “You’re not like most people, dear.”

And so it’s true, my latest three-hour car trip turning into five, not because of anything fun like an unexpected stop at a yarn shop or anything, but simply because I managed to get lost while taking a trifling detour to drop the vacuum off for repair.

Without going into why I needed to drive 70 miles to drop off the vacuum for repair when one month before it had successfully returned from its annual checkup at the shop, not necessarily with glowing reviews but certainly with no note attached saying something like, “Wind tunnel canister about to break. Will blow dust throughout the entire room and in user’s face,” suffice it to say that the people responsible for road signs, shouldn’t be.

I had three choices on the brand new roundabout, providing I wanted to eventually get off of it, and my destination was the Happy Busy Place Boulevard, which, for many years before the engineers got their hands on the highway, was marked by a sign that said, The Happy Busy Place Boulevard.

No more. My choices were Another Town 10 Miles Away, A Major Highway Going in the Opposite Direction, and The Happy Busy Place Drive.

Yeah, I noticed that too – Boulevard and Drive are not the same word, but I knew it couldn’t be the Major Highway Going in the Opposite Direction, because I tried that on an earlier trip and it didn’t work, so I closed my eyes (figuratively, don’t freak out on me) and took the exit.

Boulevard? Drive? the difference between the two terms is a slippery slope indeed. Crall Hollow Late Afternoon by Steve Henderson

And found myself in the midst of heavy industry. Not Happy. Not Busy. Not a Boulevard.

The sensible thing would have been to backtrack, but confused by the stream of panicked verbiage circulating through the car (I was alone) I decided to rely on my innate sense of direction, the one that says, “Go this way. It feels north,” and be my own GPS monitor.

It’s okay. The gas tank was three quarters full.

Well, that project lasted 10 minutes, when I pulled up beside two nurses on break and asked how to get to The Happy Busy Place.

“Wow,” they looked at one another. “That’s a long ways off.”

I’m in a car, I thought. Is it a long ways off walking, or in a car?

“It’s at least 20 blocks,” they said.


Twenty blocks, straight ahead, stay on your right, can’t miss it which I almost did because by the time I reached a right turn only lane I was at a major intersection that did not identify the major street I was turning onto.

The engineers had been at it again.

Eventually I made it, dropped off the vacuum, and described the fiasco to the technician checking in the appliance. He smiled sympathetically.

For me, getting around in the city is no drive in the county. County Road by Steve Henderson

“Next time,” he advised, “take the exit to Another Town 10 Miles Away. It will take you straight here.”

Well it’s a relief that at least one of the three exits will work; otherwise I’d be spending the rest of my days on the roundabout, getting the runaround.

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She writes about life, art, and the art of life.
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4 Responses to Round and Round about on the Roundabout

  1. oldswimmer says:

    Nothing like getting lost to learn new things! I sort of do that on purpose, having allowed extra time for such things. One friend of mine says her greatest adventures have been when I have given her rides to places. Once we ended up in a place that seemed to have no exit at all! We had to call from a really scarey pay phone in a city slum to get her husband to give us directions.
    Maybe she is the one who inspired GPS? (I don’t have one…it would probably cause an accident if I had to look at one.) Glad you’re back okay. Now if they can fix that vacuum you will be able to get the dust-storm off the carpet, huh? If you can find that vacuum shop again…umm????

    • I will find that vacuum store again — it’s in a giant Sears store in the midst of a gigantic mall, and I’ll take that third exit. The Son and Heir brought in the shop vac and went through the house with it — what a sterling person.

      I have heard too many horror stories of people using their GPS and winding up in the middle of fields, while the impersonal, generally British accented voice repeats, “You have reached your destination.”

      Like you, I don’t mind getting mildly lost when I know that I won’t get seriously that way. I just stay out of places like New York or Bangkok.

  2. Jana Botkin says:

    I learned not to trust Google maps a few years ago while on a long road trip (3000 miles) because often the exit didn’t exist in real life.

    If we were neighbors, I’d give you my not-yet-dead vacuum which I replaced because I found a real deal on a new one. Like Susan, I hope you can find that vacuum shop again – if you forget, you can refer to the directions on this post!

  3. Even though we’re not neighbors, I may wind up on your doorstep, in my efforts to get someplace else. Just leave the vacuum on the back porch and I’ll pick it up.

    We don’t trust Google maps because they say that our house is a half-mile north of where it actually is.

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