Saturday, July 21, 2012

Men, Women, and Directions

Taking and following directions whilst driving is a real problem in our household.

When we are in the car together, CP and I are a formidable team. I am an ace when it comes to giving directions, reading maps and following instructions (slash, giving instructions). Ie. I am bossy. CP is more comfortable at the driving side of things, and is a better listener when we are in the car. Ie. He knows better than to argue with me.

CP prefers country driving. He considers himself both a driver and passenger, simultaneously. On more than one occasion I have been heard screaming 'DRIVER OR PASSENGER! BUT NOT BOTH!' I, on the other hand, prefer city driving. I don't like to toot my own horn, (okay, so sometimes I do), but I am good at navigating and driving. To prove the point, I have thus far refrained from purchasing a Navman or equivalent. Plus, it would just be downright silly for us to buy one, given that we spend 99% of our road time travelling on a road that would have the Navman saying "Turn right in 30m and head straight for 100km." I figure the old 'Google Maps' app on my iPhone should be more than capable of getting us out of a fix for the other 1% of our driving time. Having said that, CP can't work an iPhone, so the navigating and driving is often all on my shoulders as soon as we leave Toowoomba.

Directions aren't only a weak point for CP. I've spent nine years living on a farm that I am still known to get lost on. I have drawn up new and improved maps over the years, and have a ballpark idea where most things on the farm are, but when CP says 'Can you come and pick me up from the water trough in the such and such paddock?' there is still that moment where I suck my breath in sharply and feel the rapid beat of my heart quicken to a shrill staccato!

Many moons ago, I heard the slightly panicked voice of my mother in law over the two way radio. I was the only person left at home at the time.
"Are you on channel Jessie?" I rushed to the receiver.
"Oh good. Jessie... {your father in law} and I are out in the lane way. We're just west of the sorghum, and we have two flat tyres. Would you be able to come and get us?"
"Ummm...." A long pause... "Yes..."
"Okay." There was still an unconvinced, slightly concerned, tone in my mother in law's voice. "Do you know how to get here?"
Again, the quickened heart beat. "Ahhh... I think so. I've been there with CP before." (In the winter, when the sorghum hadn't grown and the grass was dry. I had a huge job ahead of me, finding my way amongst paddock upon paddock of long, green grass and sorghum, tall and thick surrounding me. I didn't really have a choice. I had been there with CP before. I only knew one way to get there and I'm sure it was 'the long cut'. I hoped my on laws weren't in any great hurry.
"I'll be there soon!"
"Thanks Jessie..."

As I headed out in to the first of many paddocks, I realised how utterly futile this was going to be. I drove past the first shearers quarters, and then the shearing shed. I opened several gates, and wound my way through a myriad of green fields. Kangaroos jumped haphazardly around me. Emus scattered as I meandered around them. I had found the sorghum and knew I was close. After a good 15 minutes of driving, I heard the two way crack into life again.

"Jessie. We can see you! We're west of you, south along the fence line." Was that relief in her voice?
"Okay... So..."
"The gate is just west of you." Yes, but I still had no idea which way west was. I took a wild guess that it was in front of me. Thankfully it paid off, and in seconds I had located their vehicle and was making my way along the fence line.

Once we were all safely back in my own vehicle, the questions started. I justified my slow response by asking for a map of the farm for future emergencies. My in laws were sincerely grateful that I was able to assist them at all. I felt nothing but relief.

CP and I both have our moments when it comes to directions. I suppose it comes down to being in our comfort zones. In any event, the decision to buy an automatic car has proven to be a raging success. Because even worse than a driver who is lost, is a driver who is lost and in control of a heavy vehicle.

Do you have a DRIVING FAIL or a DIRECTION FAIL moment?


  1. haha, I have been known to stop the car, get out and listen to hear which direction the mustering is in, or look for lights in the dark, or ask them to beep their horn! Yes they might be in a certain paddock, but wow some of those paddocks can be really big!

  2. I have been on hubby's place for 10 yrs now and am exactly the same. I need 'take the power pole rd' or 'turn at the steel tank' directions. Don't even bother with north, south, east or west because I have nooo idea!! :-)


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