Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of Graeme Base's beautiful new book, The Legend of the Golden Snail (and have him sign my copy - squeeee!). I wrote about that here, but the way I got there deserves its very own blog post.
I drove. I've actually driven quite a bit in the years since I was eighteen, so that in itself is not noteworthy.
However, the fact that I'm not good at knowing where to drive is.
(Firstly, let me explain why I did what I did. I was running late. I had to wait for Steve to get home from work, so I walked out the door at 3.30pm, to go to a suburb I anticipated taking over an hour to reach (plus finding parking) for this function starting at 4.30pm. So, because I was already behind - and, um, hadn't managed to organise myself to look up directions during the day - I grabbed Steve's GPS and ran to the car. I decided to trust that little computer wholely and completely, with not an inkling of where I was going.)
So. There I was, driving happily down the highway, vaguely wondering which way the GPS would take me. I felt rather vulnerable putting myself completely under its control. You see, although I'm addicted to my computer, in other ways I'm actually rather behind with technology. I prefer to look up a street directory, or an online version, and plan out my own route. Control freak? Yes.
When I came to the part of the highway that meets with a tollway, the GPS instructed me to turn left. Left? I didn't think that's where I was supposed to head, but, okay. You're the computer, I guess you know what you're doing. From there, alarm bells began to ring in my mind. It made me get off at a road that I had already driven past to get onto this tollway. Weird.
I continued along, until it told me to drive onto a freeway. This really frustrated me, because to get onto this freeway I would usually go a different way with less traffic, fewer lights, and much more direct. This way had already taken an extra ten minutes. My heart rate increased a little.
But I got onto the freeway. Driving blindly, with no idea where it would ask me to disembark said freeway. And, right on cue, the GPS died.
I panicked. I wanted to pull into an emergency lane to find out where I should head, but cars were sitting next to me, doing that annoying thing of speeding up when I did and slowing when I did. I started muttering under my breath.
When I finally reached the stopping lane, I pulled out my street directory. Before realising there was one other problem here. My slackness with all things related to my car was about to be my next undoing.
My street directory is captioned 'the new millennium edition'. Yes. Despite my preference for using street directories over GPS systems, I have not managed to remember to buy a new one since 2000.
And, apparently, there have been a few changes to Melbourne roads in the last decade. (Although it could have been worse - the tollway I had been on earlier hadn't even existed at the time my street directory was printed.)
A few choice words started escaping.
I did what any modern, independent, composed woman would do. I rang my husband in tears. He mentioned the road he thought I should be heading for, but, as he went to the computer to check this, he had a small go at me for swearing. Unfortunately, I don't take well to being told what to do, so I hung up at this point. And turned my phone off. (Yes, so mature. And really, what was I thinking? That'll teach him for telling me what to do, by being home safely and happily while I'm out here lost?!)
Anyway, with the name of the road he had mentioned in my mind, I kept driving. And driving. And driving. Through the tunnel. Past the city. More alarm bells. Signs towards the Westgate Bridge - cue very loud swearing and very loud alarm bells.
I drove over the Westgate. Now, this might be time for a basic geography lesson. When one lives in the outer eastern suburbs and is heading to a destination in the inner southern suburbs... one should not go via the western suburbs.
By now it was 4.30pm. The time the function began. And I was convinced I had missed meeting Graeme Base, one of my favourite childhood authors.
I had to then swallow my pride, pull over and call Steve again. Still in tears. And still swearing. He ignored the swearing this time, and talked me through it. I put my phone onto loudspeaker (which still probably breaks the law, but it was either that or camp under the Westgate Bridge for the night) and he directed me to the place I needed to be at.
I arrived at 5pm. I walked in just as Graeme Base was about to begin speaking. Phew. Big sigh of relief.
This experience proves a few things...
1. My husband is awesome.
2. I can be a hot-tempered idiot.
3. My husband is wonderful.
4. Trust instinct, not computerised directional tools.
5. My husband is very patient.
6. Buy a new street directory at least once during a new decade.
7. My husband is awesome.
Oh, and in case you're wondering - yes, I did get lost on the way home as well. And called Steve and got him to talk me through it again.