I can’t believe I got lost! I have one handy talent that my husband doesn’t have. I always know where I am in relation to the world. This came in real handy during all my travels and during those years of newspaper delivery. Poor old Tommy is “spatially challenged”—he gets lost inside buildings just by turning a corner.

So he’s delighted that I have missed our street three times recently in the darkness. Now this kind of thing just doesn’t happen to me so I have had to dig deep into memory and knowledge base to figure out why in the world do I frequently have flashes of “where am I?” while driving home.

This is my third residence outside of Athens: commuting isn’t anything new to me. I well remember the long drive to Carlton—so well, in fact, that I could (and probably have) driven it in my sleep. I certainly had no trouble getting home while I lived in Crawford.

Out here we even have a security light marking the location of the Alltel substation shortly before our road. Tommy says he has no trouble finding our road because of that and what’s wrong with me.

I guess my zoned-out auto pilot is at fault. I’ve spent enough hours on the road that I automatically fall into a suspension trance—”I’ll be home soon, soon, soon…”. Leaving Athens I don’t have to be aware of where I am at all times—a quick glance can establish my location without any problem. I traveled the roads to Carlton and Crawford daily for years, but I haven’t done as much traveling out here.

The first time I missed my turn out here, I felt dumb. It was so unlike me that I figured it would never happen again. I did, however, find myself emerging from my trance abruptly during my ride home and anxiously reading the street signs. All of these intersections look the same in the dark; the only distinguishing trait is the street sign. I decided I just needed to be more vigilant for a while and it would fall into place. I would soon be automatically be turning into our lane, sleep-driving as usual.

Soon after that some inept or hostile driver knocked our street sign askew and a few days later an unknown party lifted the street sign. There was no reflective marker there and no lights at all. I missed the turn again.

I decided I needed assistance just like on a paper route. I would purchase some type of reflective marker and stick it on the side of the stop sign. I bought 2 rectangular markers placing them in the shape of an ‘L’ (get it? Lunsford, Lower Wirebridge Rd). This worked ok until last week someone ripped them off the sign. I missed my turn again.

Now I don’t know who took them off. Why, I can even suspect my gloating husband or a vicious vandal who hates me, but I realize the truth may be that county employees may have removed the unauthorized additions to the stop sign.

It was at this point that I decided I had to know the dynamics of this “lost” phenomenon. It just isn’t something I’m accustomed to though Tommy has described his thoughts and actions to me many times. After much reflection, I finally decided my new country lifestyle had struck again. For the first time in my life I no longer live just in the city limits of a town. There is no sign, no stores, no obvious residences, no street lights, no city out here. There’s just land, trees and an occasional Alltel substation…and me, lost in the countryside.

I decided to bring in the big guns: I placed a call to Robert Johnson at the commissioners’ office this morning. I don’t know if he or the roads department is even aware our street sign is gone. (I mean, after all, we are the last ones to get our electricity restored—we now make sure we touch base with Rayle EMC whenever the power goes out.) I expect it will probably take a certain space of time to get a replacement sign.

I guess I need to quit teasing my husband so unmercifully about his “disability”. I guess sleep driving isn’t such a good idea. Maybe I’ll get used to this type of home drive and then maybe not. Maybe I’ll buy some more reflectors like those stick-in-the-ground things. Maybe not.

Oh, dear, I guess I’ve just given my new (and old) friends another reason to tease me! Please, folks, take pity on me. I have been humbled. Be kind