When we are in the car together, The Farmer 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 a control freak. The Farmer 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.
I've spent eleven 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 The Farmer says 'Can you come and pick me up from the water trough in the ‘L’ paddock?' there is still that moment where I suck my breath in sharply and feel the rapid beat of my heart quicken.
Many moons ago, I heard the slightly panicked voice of my mother-in-law (MIL) 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. Your FIL 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 heartbeat. "Ahhh... I think so. I've been there with The Farmer 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 only knew one way to get there and I'm sure it was 'the long cut'. I hoped my in-laws weren't in any great hurry.
"I'll be there soon!"
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 shearer’s 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.
"We can see you! We're west of you, south along the fence line." Was that relief in her voice? "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.
My in-laws were sincerely grateful that I was able to assist them. I felt nothing but relief.
Now I make sure I keep a map of the farm in my car and in the house at all times. I have become more familiar with where certain places are, and am coming to terms with the fact that ‘near the eagle’s nest’ is a valid direction. It’s a tough pill to swallow given my obsessive need to be in control.