Misery Loves Company
Recently, a friend told me he thought he knew how to navigate the Dallas street system. (Fact: There is no proof that anyone really does.) Anyway, he was on his way to an appointment when he became disoriented, turned around, tangled up, and just downright lost. In other words, he was a victim of the dreaded DFW Syndrome (Discombobulated Freeway Wanderer). See! It ain’t just me!
As you may be aware, my driving experience in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area has been, well, problematic at best. (See “The Turkey Had It Easy”, Parts I and II, and “Driving Miss Crazy”.) Incidentally, according to one of my trivia books, we humans are endowed with a trace amount of iron in our noses that acts as a “rudimentary compass . . . in directional finding relative to the earth’s magnetic field.” * In my case, it seems, that bit of iron apparently was left on the assembly line. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s another instance of my personal DFW travel woes.
My first driving experience to Dallas was for an appointment and I almost arrived successfully. The map I Googled before leaving home proved accurate enough until I was just one turn from my destination. I have a habit of memorizing the last one or two streets prior to the one I want (which in this case was Randall Street) so as to know where it should be. Coming down Harry Hines Boulevard I passed Katy Trail, then Wolf Street; the next left should be Randall Street. Huh? The next sign I saw was for Hunt Street. I made an unscheduled left turn onto Hunt and ten minutes and a dozen turns later I chanced upon Randall—and right at the exact address of my appointment. Sometimes you do get (sort of) lucky.
Before leaving to return home I was told that my Google map was correct but that the street sign for Randall is covered by overhanging tree limbs. I made a pass by the supposed intersection to check it out for myself. Sure enough, Harry Hines and Randall do meet but the street sign is so obscured as to be invisible to the naked eye. Next time I come here I’ll just use the orange sherbet-colored building on the opposite side of Harry Hines as my road marker. (My nose compass may be faulty but at least I’m not color-blind.) On second thought, maybe I should bring my lopping shears.
Horseplay Along the Highway
Anyway, I started home but somehow missed my turn (Google map notwithstanding) and ended up on Interstate 35E instead of 183 which was gradually disappearing to the southwest. Deciding to follow my nose—big mistake!—and heading northwest I watched for an exit to 183. This exit does not exist.
Not daring to risk taking one of the local roads and getting even more lost, I continued, more or less, northwest. I passed through the bustling metropolises of Farmers Branch and Lewisville and over scenic Lake Dallas. Eventually I reached Denton and 35W—which runs north and south! (Go figure.) Finally, I knew where I was and headed south back toward Ft. Worth.
As I drove down the expressway I passed a lovely fenced meadow on the west side of the road where several horses were grazing. Suddenly a foal scampered away from the small herd and raced toward another horse a short distance away; I guessed it was a mare, the foal’s mother. As she stood there the youngster ran a couple of circles around her and then gleefully ran back through the grass toward the other horses, kicking up his hooves as he went. That happy scene made my whole road trip fiasco worthwhile. I couldn’t help envying that little foal. At least he’ll never have to deal with the DFW road system.
The Buddy System?
After a drive of more than 61 miles and 72 minutes that should have been 39 miles and 49 minutes I arrived home at last. I looked forward to flopping onto the sofa with a glass of wine.
Later, as I related my (mis)adventure to some friends it was suggested that next time I have to go to Dallas I take our friend Marla with me. That struck me as a great idea. Marla was born in Dallas and lived there most of her life. She has a reputation for, shall we say, time-efficient driving. So, even if we do get lost, we should be able to cover that 61 miles in just half the normal time!
© 2012, The Wit’s End Scribbler
*McCutcheon, Marc. The Compass in Your Nose and Other Astonishing Facts about Humans. Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1989.