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It should have been a simple errand. 20 minutes. 30 minutes top! The route was straightforward, and even swung by a Tim Horton’s. I was headed to the Crisis Pregnancy Centre (no, there’s nothing to report) to pick up baby bathtubs filled with baby bottles. They’re part of a joint fundraiser between the centre and the churches in the area.

It should have been simple.

And it was. At first. I made good time, hitting mostly green lights. Next was the highway where I had to turn left…and I couldn’t. The road was blocked by construction. If I had known there was construction, I could have turned sooner and avoided the whole mess. But I didn’t.

I kept going, thinking I could turn around, head north and turn right at the light. But the traffic heading north stretched for a mile or more. A 6 month old could crawl faster. I turned left at the next traffic light onto a quiet residential street to consult my thick map book. The solution was simple…go back where I was, head south to 14th, turn left…head to 9th, turn left and so on. Simple.

I was still confident in my ability to navigate this slight detour until 9th ended in a wall of construction. There were no detour signs (or construction workers) and I had to make a split-second decision – left or right. I turned left and spent the next 10 minutes touring a subdivision with street names like Purple Finch and Toad Lily. I pulled off once to check my map book but couldn’t find any of these street names. My map book was dated 2006. Mother’s Day idea?

I finally weaved my way back to where I had turned left and went straight (as if I had turned right instead). The road curved around to commercial civilization. At least I could stop for directions without worrying that my body would end up in the river. (Of course, you never know about the “people of Wal-Mart”.) It wasn’t until the road curved east again that I started to worry. It was nearly 2 p.m. and I was starting to feel a little panicky. I didn’t know where I was or how to get back to my own neighbourhood, and I had to be at the school by 3.

I finally gave in and stopped at a bank. It was in the middle of a field, the first building constructed and open in an area where clearly there was more to come. I grabbed the address and my keys, and ran inside.

It took me a few minutes to find someone in the bank. I was beginning to fear that something horrible had happened, like a bank robbery that ended badly for the employees. I’ve already witnessed an armed robbery and would rather not repeat the experience. The clerk I finally found was very pleasant (even though I may have woken her from her nap). I practically vomited out my sad story…where I was going, the fact that I had hit construction in crucial intersections…twice, and that I was very lost. Could she tell me how to get back to the highway?

She told me not to worry, that she was good at directions. She grabbed a blank piece of paper and a pen…and stared at them, hemming and hawing. I could feel tears starting to well in my eyes. Was this the end?

“GIYF” – Google is your friend. She went to Google maps and looked up the bank! Then she inarticulately started to point out where we were on the map, in relation to the highway. I did my best to follow her babbling, while squinting at the screen. In my haste, I hadn’t taken time to exchange my prescription sunglasses for my regular glasses. With the sunglasses on, I couldn’t see the screen. With my sunglasses off, I couldn’t see the screen.

“Good luck,” she yelled, as I dashed back to the car and started to retrace my steps. The speakers in my car were blaring a Skillet song, “Circus for a Psycho” and my heart was pounding in time to the beat. My only hope was that my aging brain could retain the names and squiggles on the map I had just viewed online. Hope can be a tenuous thing. It was nearly 2:15! Within minutes, I was not only on the highway, but pulling into my destination. I had been so close.

I picked up my baby bathtubs and asked for directions to the main road that would lead me back to work. I knew my friend’s house was nearby so I was feeling more optimistic (as well as a growing need to pee). I navigated down one one-way street, and then another, before circling the final block to the main road…which was choked by 2 long lines of construction vehicles. Now the speakers in my car were blaring “The Madness in Me” and I could feel the madness escaping. The rest of the trip is a blur. I know I made it back to work just in time to head to the school. When I got to the school, the parking lot was blocked by construction…

“Circus for a psycho
(Psycho, go, go, go)
Circus for a psycho
(Psycho, here we go)”

– Skillet, Circus for a Psycho