Saturday, January 7, 2017


"You missed the exit for Route 23".

That was not true. I had actually missed the last three exits.

It was a trip I had taken literally hundreds of times before. I could say it was night, that I was distracted by our conversation, but those are not reasons, only excuses. The truth is I was just being me, always a half step from some head shaking error.

I could feel my son furiously texting this latest disaster to his sister. "Are you ok" he asked?     "Should I be worried?"

Just earlier in the day, I had jokingly asked my wife why she was not as emotionally invested in me as I was with her.

"If you had been married to you for 40 years, how would you feel?" 

I got it.

The next exit was about six miles up the Taconic. Thanks to the latest mapping ap,  my son was advising me of all the back roads that would cut a corner on our return route.

From the first turn off the main road, it felt like an awful mistake. It was not just dark back here, it was DARK. The paved road ended, the width of our passageway narrowed to what seemed but a sliver to my old eyes and our course meandered through ever denser forest.

"Go slow. Watch out for the deer" my wife warned.

"Don't worry", I replied, "it is far too remote out here for deer."

"That's right", my son said, "you should watch out for the bear."

You know that feeling when a minute seems like ten and a mile seems like infinity. This was exactly what this moment seemed to be. It was not that there were no houses here. It was that there was no sign of life.

"Doesn't anybody live out here?" 

I drove along, noting how beautiful it probably was in daylight, but I was as far from daylight as I think I had ever been.

I could tell my wife was worried. How? She said so. But there was no retreat, no turning back, because this was theoretically the fastest way home. If we ever got there.

After about 15 minutes, or as I like to refer to it, eternity, we spotted lights coming from the trails set up for night skiing at Catamount, a local ski area. It was as though god himself had cast a beam from heaven. 

Did you ever experience a moment where you were driving but distant objects appeared never to get any closer? 

"Catamount seems to be moving at the same speed as we are" I advised as time passed but the car had somehow frozen in place. I knew we were closing in on civilization but I couldn't figure out how to actually get there.

Suddenly a car appeared traveling towards me. I wanted to get out of my slow moving vehicle    and hug it, as if I had been stranded on a desert island and had spotted my rescuer. We were going to make it after all.

Finally, the road was paved beneath us. The forest disappeared and we were released by our captor. When we came upon Route 23 joy and exhilaration exuded from me, as if I were Moses and just stepped out of the desert.

"That wasn't so bad", I exclaimed, "it probably only cost us about 20 minutes." 

I wondered what my son's follow up text would report to his sister. As for my poor wife, I think she long ago gave up hoping for anything more than she was now saddled with. Just ask her about each minute seeming its own eternity. I dare you.


Anonymous said...

You're a very brave soul posting this. Most mortals reserve these kinds of thoughts and incidents for their therapy sessions. Maybe utilization of a really loud GPS with a voice distinctly different from your wife's would help in this case?
Otherwise consider purchasing a self driving vehicle in future.

However, dwelling on being married to yourself for the past 40 years will not bring about any lasting satisfaction, enlightenment or fulfillment. Leave those mysteries and burdens to others.


Harvey F Leeds said...

3 stooges or gracie and george?

Anonymous said...

I’ve taken enough backwoods “short - cuts” to now call them “long -cuts”…
Clearly, at heart, you are not a woodsy guy. That should always be considered before taking short-cuts directed by some app on an I-phone. Just sayin’
Glad it worked out OK.


Anonymous said...

Whew, for a moment there, I thought that I was reading a Stephen King mystery novel! Glad you finally found your way!


Anonymous said...

I've read 20 books this past year and your writing skills are as good if not better than all. Whether it's a critique on those eligible for the Hall, a piece on the Yankees or a nostalgic essay on your mother or father...you're second to none!