As a mode of transportation, a leisure activity, or a (mental) health exercise, walking is a fine creature. I sometimes forget that walking can be so enjoyable…when it’s an option and not the default. N’est-ce pas?
This morning I was reminded of a few things I take for granted:
1. Being able to learn and commit to memory the proper way to get from point A to point B by operating a motor vehicle.
2. Being familiar enough with surface streets and general lay-of-the-land to get back on track to reach point B.
3. Walking is so much simpler as a means of transportation (over reasonable distances).
I’m the kind of driver that remembers routes based primarily on visual cues of where to turn once muscle memory is activated. My recall stems from just knowing what lane I need to be in to make the desired turns (or to avoid undesired shifts). Depending on the area and how long I’ve spent there (and surrounding environs), I may or may not remember the names of the streets after a certain amount of time has passed. For instance, when I was an undergrad, I remembered the majority of street names and parallel/perpendicular/joining of roads around the school. But now? I’ve forgotten half of it.
This morning, I had to take a different route to travel from point A to point B. I suppose one could say I was going from point C to point B, which I’ve done many times in the recent past. Because the muscle memory had not fully developed and that “just knowing” what to do at essential places was not completely formed, I found myself in the wrong lane to continue to my destination.
There was a moment just as I realized my error that simultaneously filled me with panic and hilarity. “OH NO!” met “Huh-ha. This is funny and ironic, man.”
And of course, my options for correcting my mistake were limited to what I knew of the surface streets and how to get back to the highway. I was not on one of those highways where you can just take the next exit, go across the bridge and get back on the highway. Thus, following a five minute bout of circling with a less than optimal idea of where I was headed, I managed to return to the highway…but too far “down” so I had to go to points D and E in order to make it to point C.
The moral of the story? I now know which lane I need to use in order to continue to point C from point B.
As for walking, if you miss your exit, miss your turn, or took the wrong turn, you can literally turn around and go back the way you came.*
* Unless you’re in the desert…then being able to do so would not necessarily be a boon.