This is a tale of getting lost. I get lost quite a bit, it seems, and the thing is that it’s always the exact same story… so I’ll give you a brief outline, then tell you my latest tale. Here’s the outline:
- I am in a hurry/late for something
- I need to quick head somewhere.
- I, [believing that I am] knowing where I am, think I can save a little bit of time by taking some sort of shortcut.
- Around the time that I ought to have arrived at my destination had I not taken this “shortcut”, I realize I am lost, and then either:
- Admit defeat, backtrack to the point of getting lost, and proceed the known way back to my destination, arriving very, very late.
- I, [believing that I am] knowing where I am, think I can save a little bit of time by taking some sort of shortcut. Repeat Cycle.
So that’s the pattern. Easy enough to understand… it would explain how I could:
- End up at Van Andel Arena when headed from Eastown to Calvin College.
- End up well on my way to Ann Arbor when heading from Grandville to Plainfield and 4 Mile.
- End up in a some crazy subdivision when driving from my house to work… twice.
The fact that I’m an idiot doesn’t seem to help much… Anyway, here’s the latest story:
It was Monday.. Our softball games for the Fall season are on Mondays, and today’s game was at 8:15.. which means I’d want to show up around 7:15. I made it home from work around 6:30, and there was a note on my front door that UPS had tried to deliver a package. I had ordered one of those USB to PS/2 adapters so I could use an external mouse and keyboard with my work laptop, which had no PS/2 ports, but did have USB. I had borrowed one of those adapters from Joel at Andy‘s LAN, and it worked quite well, so I had ordered one for myself. Now, I wanted to be able to bring the dealie in to work, so I was hoping to get it on Monday to bring it in Tuesday, so I was a little annoyed that the UPS guy hadn’t left it. Checking the note, it said he has left it at the “Comm(?) Center” [“?” indicated his penmanship was less than good.] I eventually decided it meant “Community Center”… but I didn’t know where the Community Center was, so I consulted the guide we were given when we moved in. The part I noticed was that the Community Center had pools and tennis courts, so I headed over to the Health and Fitness Center right by my house, as they had pools and tennis courts [at the very least, they’d tell me where the Community Center was]. So I get in there, and they let know know that the community center is right next to the Leasing Center.. and since I knew where that was, I was all set. Now, it was getting close to 7 already, so the game was starting soon.. or at least I wanted to be there soon. It would have made sense for me to drive my car, in order to get there very soon.. but 2 things awoke in my brain at the same time. First was that I always seemed to play a bit better when I had already been fairly active for a while before the game started. (e.g. I play better the second game of a double header, or when I used to play basketball with Josh and his family before a softball game in Zeeland… also one of the reasons I want to show up to a game so early.) The second thing that struck me was something my Ethics professor had said my Senior year of College. My Ethics professor was Prof. Hare, a man I very much liked and respected. He was from England, and mad a remark once about how Americans are far more likely to use their cars when other cultures would just walk. It seems true enough, and I’ve tried to, as a result, walk or run rather than drive whenever possible. So here I am, not all that far away from the Community Center, and wanting to be active… so I decided I would run there.
Aside: I should note that my knee has been bothering me this week a bit. Nothing major, just every once in a while I wake up, and my knee feels a bit weak, and occasionally a step will feel really off, and my knee seems to give out, and I stumble a bit, get a sharp pain, then all is back to normal. It’s annoying, but not terribly unexpected. I’ve been trying to do stretches and exercises to get rid of it. I’ll mention it to the Doctor next time I see him (Dec. 7th), but I’m assuming that when you have an entire section of cartilage ripped out of your knee, some occasional pain is the price you pay. (Well, that, and 10’s of thousands of dollars.)
So I started running. I was wearing a nice pair of jeans, a kind of crappy T-shirt, my favorite socks, and my newer shoes (the ones that slip on.. I like not tying shoes) I ran through the woods by my parking lot, and ended up in a parking of another set of Ramblewood apartments. I followed the road around for a while, and after a ways of running, I hit more parking lots, and followed the street for a while longer. Eventually I got my bearings, and knew where I was at (Note the outline here, folks.) I had to follow another road around, and eventually made a bit of a loop back (think of the shape of a shark’s fin, and you pretty much have the path that I ran). I turned the corner, ran and walked a bit, and made it to the Leasing Center.. and a ways past that was the Community Center. Not bad, I thought, A few more minutes, and I could cut my hair, take a shower, and head off to the game.
I headed in to the Community Center, presented my slip, and the lady lead me to a room filled with packages, and told me to find mine. Once I had, I left. Here’s a note: I could have taken any one of those packages, and she never would have checked. I could have looked for one from some place that looked expensive, and taken it, and I would have been good to go. That seems less than good. Okay, so now I have my package in hand (think 6 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches)[joke averted]. I begin running, but knowing where I am, I believe I can cut straight back towards my parking lot, and skip the shark’s fin path. I run past two parking lots, and follow a road for a bit, then hit a forest. I head right in to th forest, seeing what I believed to be a small path. Well, it was not a path so much as a thick forest filled with pricker weeds and small trees. I struggled through there for a while, and do eventually make it through to the other side, where I am greeted by another Ramblewood parking lot and apartment cluster. So far so good, I think. I run a bit more, and hit another small forest. Odd, I think, but since I knew which direction I was heading, all was good. I work my way through this forest a bit more easily, and there are obvious paths in it, and so I emerge on the other side, and see a main road. Very good. Wait.. no… it’s 44th Street, and a ways ahead I see the sign for the leasing office. Wow do I seriously suck at this.
So I start running down 44th street, but it’s starting to get kinda late, so I need to make up some time, so I head back in toward Ramblewood, and cut down a street. I know I’m heading in the right direction now, so as long as I continue in this direction all is well. I run down one street, then down another, and recognize the area as part of the shark’s fin path, and cut into a parking lot the direction of my parking lot. At the end of this parking lot is another forest. Thinking it to be the original forest I past through, I head on in. There are no paths. I have to cut and duck my way through small trees, weeds, vines, and various other roadblocks. I head further and further in, and it’s not getting any better… I hear the creek in the distance, and people’s voices, and engine sounds, so I know I’m heading in the right direction. A few more minutes work, and I’m close to the creek.. then I reach a fence. Um.. WTF?
I can’t quite see the fence from where I’m at, but I can see the fence… So I followed the fence for a while and get closer to the creek, until I can see it. The creek looks more like a river.. and across it is another fence, and then a subdivision. Again, WTF? This seems bad. So now, even if I could get across, it doesn’t seem to be where I want to go anyway. I follow the fence for a little while, then hit another fence, and then I knew it was time to backtrack. I was now getting annoyed.. also, I was getting covered with those small green burrs, and that further annoyed me. I started heading back, and after cutting and ducking through thick forest for a while, I hit a small clearing. Score. There were no trees for a while, and just open dirt and some small grassy areas. I take a step in, and my foot sunk in a little bit. The ground seemed a bit soft. I took another step and *whoosh* my “bad” leg sank in up to the knee. Coupled with this unfortunate sinking was the most wretched smell I’ve experienced in a long time.. perhaps ever. Quickly I yanked my leg back out and struggled for balance.. just in time to notice that my foot had made it out, but my shoe hadn’t joined it on the journey. A quick step down was enough to foul that sock up nicely. I quick reached down and grabbed my shoe, and slipped it back on. Now my shoe was filled with this brown squishy evil, my sock was covered in it, and my hand up to my elbow was coated in it. I scrambled out of the clearing of evil, and made back into the forest. Now I was not pleased. I was dirty, I smelled awful, and I was late. I worked my way out of that forest into another clearing, where I found a dirt path set up for bikes. There were ramps, jumps, and in the distance, 3 little kids on bikes. I followed the bike path for a while, growing steadily closer to the bike kids. Eventually the bike path made a turn back towards where I had come from, and I did not want to go back there, so I stopped, looked around, and finally called out to the kids.
Me: Hey, guys. Happen to know where the closest road is?
Me: A road. Do you know where the closest road is?
Kids: [quiet murmurs amongst themselves] Kent Trails is that way.[points to my left]
Me: Alright. Thanks, guys. [I start heading that direction]
I made it about 20 feet that direction before I walked into the fence. It successfully guarded that direction for what appeared to be quite a ways. So I followed the fence for a small ways, until I found a weak spot (i.e. a small hole in the fence that I could squeeze through.) Making it past the fence, I made my way through the rest of the forest, and out to the road. From the road, I could see the path and recognized where I was.. I seriously suck at this. I tucked my UPS delivery in my clean arm, and began to run down the street. A few minutes later I was at Spartan Industrial. My journey through the forest had taken me far past my home, and now I had to backtrack to get there. I was not going to tempt fate again, I was sticking to the roads. I ran back to the Health and Fitness club, then had to run all the way around the tennis courts, and made it back to my parking lot.
I made it up to my house, took off my soiled show and sock, and hopped on one foot to my bathroom, where I threw my shoes, pants, shirt, and socks into the bathtub, and just turned on the water full blast. I cleaned off my arm and foot as best I could, and got the clumps off my clothes. I gathered all of it up, shoes includes, in an old towel, and threw the whole mess in the washing machine, took a quick but very hot shower, then sped off to the softball game in time to get a quick warm up in before we started. On the way to the game I noticed that I had really tweaked my knee (yanking it from the “mud” I’m guessing.). In closing, Ramblewood is a land of contrast amidst a sea of troubles.