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Navigating Life’s Big Dig September 4, 2006

Posted by whatacharacter in Art, humor, just my blogs, life.

Boston was recently the scene of the most suspenseful episode of “Lost” yet. I always wanted to see more of this historic city, since I fly into Logan airport on the way to caretake the family Cape Cod Cottage, but, Lord, I never intended to explore it this way.

Getting out of Boston on arrival – which I never have trouble with – was a headache just to start off. Maybe it was because my whole family was in the car this trip, or perhaps it was the result of Boston’s century long “Big Dig” improvement project, that I was disoriented. Nevertheless, it’s a heart-sinking experience to cruise right past an exit, suddenly recognizing it and thinking, “I should’ve gone THAT way …” then spending the next 25 minutes recovering one’s bearings along the meandering streets of the 376 year old city. But this was only the ironic set-up for the return trip.

I rarely take the rental car “pre-pay” option for a tank of gas, but with a much better price deal, I did. This means that to take full advantage, you return it as empty of fuel as you safely can. We sure did.

Relying on my wonderful wife’s navigation to get us back to the rental car return, outside the Boston airport, she focused on the car company’s printed directions, to “stay in the left lane,” rather than on the route # we were supposed to exit to. Invariably, the Big Dig had rendered the printed directions obsolete, and the exit was now upon the right. Complicating this fact, due to road construction changing every week, the City of Boston seemed to have stopped bothering to put up any new signs on the highway for guidance, so once again we went off into the city with no clue how to find the correct route again … but this time facing a blinking “Low Fuel” idiot light, and a flight soon to catch home to Seattle.

Twisted overpasses, bridges, and off-ramps whiz by in spaghetti-like confusion, as my delirious wife urges me in desperate tone to find a gas station. The kids in the backseat are gently coaxed to “Shut the Hell up –NOW!” and to clutch their bladders. No less than 3 missed turn offs then occur, turning too soon in the expected direction, only to see the correct route sign ahead on a different road.

And then … I set upon “the bridge with no end.” An ancient 4 lane trestle bridge, it took to the air with alarming altitude, and appeared to go on forever. My inner senses told me there was no existing area of Boston with the equivalent topography on the other end to match this bridge, unless it concluded in Canada, 500 miles away. This was it: it gets me to where we need to go, or I run out of gas here, 1 billion feet above nose-bleed level. My wife now curled up in a ball, silently quivering, kids ashen with blank stares, me white knuckling and pleading with the heavens.

The bridge did actually manage to come to an end, and I *knew* we were very close to our destination. Indeed, I find by sheer luck the correct road to take us to the rental car company, brazenly weighing the odds and ignoring any likely side-street leading to a gas station. Finally we pull in, exhausted engine gasping on damp fumes.

Expecting a triumphant celebration, I was scarcely congratulated at all, but in my heart I knew I was a hero – my tenacity and superior sense of direction had won against all odds, even though I knew for some it was too much to handle.

This really long story, made just long, serves also to illustrate the confusion I’m currently experiencing with my career and artistic endevors: I am close to desperate to find the right signs, so I can get off and ultimately reach my heart’s content. Again my overworked wife is getting desperate.

Much like Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,”

Boston is lovely, its’ streets are deep,

But I have promises to keep,

a rental car to return

My fuel is all but burn’d

Have a plane to catch so hurry the *bleepin’ bleep*,

Art to do, a career to seek

And miles to go before I reap

And miles to go before I sleep

etc. et.al.



1. Elise - September 5, 2006

Sounds like a nightmare! I’m getting nervous just thinking about having to deal with the I-5, I swear I nearly had a heart attack driving in the Seattle area alone!

2. greg - September 6, 2006

As we have no Moose on our roads we’re that much safer … but maybe that’s offset by the millions of crazy drivers. You’ll get used to it! 🙂

3. dreamsleftbreathing - September 13, 2006

yesyes. driving can be that kind of fun adventure. i just spent a weekend near branson, MO. with a couple pit stops on the way. my partner and i worked out a great deal. he drives and i navigate the maps. otherwise we get lost on the map or i miss the exit to the only super8 open at 4 in the moring in the entire state of Iowa. maybe night driving isn’t all the rage. i’m definately going with the interstate way next time…
nice Frost poem, lol, that’s awsome.
it’s amazing how intuition works better that directions at finding one’s destination, at least that’s been my experience. let me think about what that means in the big picture. mmm. there are so many roadsigns telling us which way to go, but ultimately we have to put out our heart a bit and ask the divine which way right takes us
*i’m very glad you made it to the airport = }

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