Home > Driving, Ohio, Traumatic Childhood > The Time I Tried to Drive to the Mall

The Time I Tried to Drive to the Mall

Okay, I know the title to this post sounds really boring. But that’s before you know about my truly abysmal sense of direction.

The mall is only about a 10 minute drive from my house, and as a freshly minted driver, I wanted to prove my freedom by navigating there all by my lonesome. I actually managed to get to the mall without incident, but the return trip was a different story.

Despite attempting to simply reverse the route I had taken to the mall, I went the opposite direction at one intersection, and all hell broke loose.

The terrain looked familiar, but it should have since I had been living in the area for 16 years. But soon things started to change, and Ohio suburbia soon turned into rural farmland as the minutes ticked by. I passed cows and cornfields, abandoned barns and old silos.

Well, shit.

This was before cell phones, and I was too embarrassed to admit defeat by stopping to ask for directions. Besides, where would I have even stopped? In between the fields were simply more fields, with houses set back from the road by hundreds of feet. Soon even the houses thinned, and then it was just me and the livestock.

I finally sucked up my pride and pulled into the next building I saw, which was a saloon called the “Spooky Hollow Inn.” Sitting on the porch in a rocking chair was a stereotype straight out of Deliverance. He leaned towards me as my car pulled up the gravel driveway, then frowned and clenched his teeth down on his corncob pipe. Yes, an actual corncob pipe.

16 and scared, I backed out before asking him anything and simply turned around. Over an hour later, I managed to finally make my way back to my house, almost in tears.

I go nowhere without a printout from Google Maps to this very day. My fear and hatred of driving and getting lost were actually some of the reasons I moved to New York. At least in a city that’s a grid AND an island, I can’t stray too far before hitting water.

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  1. January 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

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