Thursday, November 19, 2009

There. Now it's official. I'm senile.

Tonight on the drive home I scared myself. A lot.

I've been driving this 60 mile commute since mid-August and I know I-57 between Cairo and Marion like the back of my hand. I can drive it in the rain, in the fog, before dawn, after dark and, up until tonight, even when I'm deadly tired. Tonight I got lost coming home. Really lost, like "where the hell am I and where is home?!?" lost. If it weren't for the nifty direction finder in my car I might still be out there somewhere getting ready to cry.

I'm still not sure how it happened. It's dark and I was tired, but I know my exit. The highway curves to the left and the exit veers to the right. It takes a long curve to the right, then a curve to the left and comes to a stop. Then you turn left onto Route 3 and you're there. But tonight when the highway curved left and I veered right, taking the same long curves right and left, and came to a stop just like every other night, the left turn put me on little highway I've never seen and there was nothing familiar anywhere. I finally turned into an old pot-hole ridden gas station I've never seen before in my life and turned around. I found my way back to the highway, not sure which way to go, and took a guess. The next sign I saw said I still had seven miles to go to Cairo. At that point I was so confused I wondered if I'd somehow managed to drive across the bridge into Missouri without realizing it. There was still nothing that looked familiar. There were lots of lights I don't remember ever seeing and railroad overpasses that seemed completely unfamiliar and out of place. My directional computer thingie said that I was, indeed, still headed south, and the signs kept saying I was headed for Cairo, but nothing looked right to me until my exit came (again?) and it was exactly the exit I always take. But it was also exactly the exit I just took, except this time it went where it was supposed to.

I still don't know what happened, but whatever it was I didn't like it.


Pat said...

Not true. Sometimes, for whatever reason, our auto pilot goes haywire. About 20 years ago, I was under a lot of stress, had moved 6 months prior, and had gone to visit a friend. It wasn't far from my house. When I left her house, I was tired it was dark and rainy. I drove for a bit, then was totally disoriented. I had no idea where I had ended up. I was frightened, but kept wandering around until I saw something that could help me identify where I was. I was frightened, as you were. I thought I was getting alzheimers. But, that was 20 years ago, and nothing like that has happened since.
I think you are just too tired to be driving. This should be a wakeup call. You need to change something so that you aren't driving like that. I would like to think you will be around for a while.

Cedar said...

I saw this on a Discovery Channel special. Where there large fields and crop circles? Pulsating lights, did your car lose power for no reason and then just start back up? Were there cows? The presence of cows is the key to the answer to all of this. If there were no cows, well then you just freakin lost because you were tired.

Kwach said...

There were no cows.

Ev explained my error when she got home. She said that the exit to the little town just north of us looks a lot like our exit in the dark, and she described the little gas station at that exit. So I just left the highway seven miles too soon.

Tonight on my way home I took a long look at that exit and I can't imagine how I did that. It really doesn't look that similar to me, but everything that was there last night was there tonight, and everything that didn't look familiar last night looked just fine tonight.

I'm sure it was exactly a case of being tired that made me mess up the exit. The panicky confusion part is a bit harder to reconcile.

Anonymous said...

I think there probably were cows, but you didn't see them because they were under some sort of invisibility shield. I don't buy this "tired" thing or the "exists look the same" thing. Too simplistic. Keep some tin foil in the car for next time.

Tim said...

Actually, you entered The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling was busy, otherwise you would have never been allowed to get back on YOUR highway.