Not knowing where we’re going. It’s a sad indictment to the human condition, often not limited to the blissful ignorance of childhood.
I was picking up a pal the other week. We agreed to meet on a Valencia corner. There’s four of them, mostly. She said, “WHICH corner.”
I said: “The northwest corner.”
She confessed. She had no concept of directions. I started with a simple point of reference.
“Do you know where the sun goes down in the evening?”
OK. Fine. “Do you know where the sun rises in the morning? Like, when you leave the house to go to work, there’s a big, bright orange orb in the sky?”
The sun. She knew there was such a thing, but couldn’t recall where it bounced hither and yon during its daily patrols.
In the mysterious realm of Guy/Girl relationships, we men are at a profound disadvantage. When the woman says something epically dumb, there’s not much we can do. We bow our heads. Close our eyes. Sigh heavily. With four fingers, we tap, insistently, at our forehead, over and over, as if to find a magic valve to release the blinding, painful steam.
Years ago, I was in a relationship with a dear, wonderful, sweet person.
Taking separate cars, we were to meet for a week’s vacation in Yosemite.
It’s that beautiful national park in central California, dare I use this word — “east” — of Fresno.
This was before cell phones. My partner had two maps. Hand-printed directions. Change for the many public telephone booths lining the route from Newhall to Yosemite. It’s a very leisurely 3.5 hours away, you know.
She ended up in San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge? The Mark Hopkins? Fisherman’s Wharf? No discernible bears?
I waited at our rented cabin in Wawona. An hour late turned to two, three, five, finally six. She called and geez was I relieved. She laughed and said she got lost.
When you’re a guy, and you’re in a relationship, you may never, never — never —answer your sweetheart with the comeback: “You — t h i n k?”
Not unless you want to earn the Indian name of: Sleeps On Lumpy Ottoman, whom, I believe, played for the 1952 Green Bay Packers.
Even if you don’t italicize the “think?” women, like dogs and highway patrolmen, can sense a “tone.” From there, the Chaos Theory takes over. What started as a perfectly innocent question, like:
“Honey. How, Did You End Up 179 Miles Out of Your Way In San Francisco, California?”
Draws this response:
“So. You Think I’m Stupid, Don’t You…?”
Yup. Amen. Boy howdy. Been there. Done that. Have the T-shirt, coffee mug, mouse pad and refrigerator magnet calendar. Never do you want to accidentally let slip that relationship ender. You don’t want to point out to She who is your moon, sun and stars (which obviously were NOT employed in plotting her course to the famous national park founded in 1864 by Abraham Lincoln as a protected land grant and where man first visited as long as 10,000 years ago without walking to San Francisco first) that she has the directional instincts of a dead salmon.
This is, after all, A Relationship. Not a “Matlock” rerun.
Sadly, you’re the guy.
You don’t get to cross exam and ask: “Are there seals in Yosemite, Mrs. Lewis & Clark?”
Nopey-nope. Do Not. Go. There . . .
You don’t get to rest an elbow on the imaginary oak jury box railing and inquire: “Did the abundance of San Francisco signs along Highway 101, which, granted, is only two more than Highway 99, listing, in decreasing mileage, your proximity to the Baghdad by the Bay raise any red flags with you, Mrs. Marco Polo?”
Danger, Will Robinson! Do Not! Approach!
You don’t get to grasp imaginary suspenders, smile sweetly toward the jury and ask: “Tell us, Mrs. Kit Carson. You’ve already confessed to driving to Yosemite National Park on 84 separate occasions. Along your route, which turned toward the setting sun, Alcatraz Island and the Live Nude Dancing clubs in the Mission District, you had ample opportunity to stop and ask for directions. And yet . . .” you huff on your fingernails and buff them on a lapel, “. . . you — didn’t…”
That’s an option in a bar fight. Not a relationship.
I know I’m not supposed to inquire about that speck the size of a pork chop in my Brother’s, or Significant Other’s, eye. But, I’ve a question:
Why is it when a woman doesn’t have the foggiest idea where the sun rises, somehow it ends up being my fault?
John Boston is a local writer, and, with such a smarty pants attitude about silly things like driving 29,000 miles out of your way and getting lost, is single, with 119 major awards, none of them for relationships.