I drive a boat about as well as I drive a car.
Which is not saying much.
As much time as I’ve spent on a boat you think I’d be able to dock a Carnival Cruise ship, however, there is a pretty big difference in being a passenger and being the captain.
And I love the wind blowing through my hair, to park at the island or bounce along behind it holding on for dear life while someone pulls my tube into the wake. My arms ache for days afterwards but I will trade the ache easily for the ten minutes of feeling like I am still a teenager.
However, these attempts in the captain's seat usually are more comedy than success. This weekend I even almost managed to sink a kayak...(which is a funny story for another day).
My dad just bought a new boat and I tried to pay a little more attention than I had in the past. This time when offered, I made sure to take a turn at the wheel even though I’d much rather be lounging across the seat watching my kids laugh and get splashed by the waves.
But mostly I paid attention to my surroundings.
Because on the lake it is really easy to get turned around.
There are no streets signs and all the inlets seem to look the same.
I have spent years of summers on this lake and I still only know my way around via landmarks.
I know to get to the gas station to aim for the dam and turn right.
Then aim for the McDonalds sign.
To get to the party island, aim for the big lighthouse then make a right.
Getting back home is the hardest but I have finally learned a few landmarks to let me know that I am in the right place.
I’m sure by now, google maps would probably be able to help me out…..but I’m not quite sure it can direct me which exact inlet to turn. As far as I know most houses only have their addresses printed on the curbs, not the docks. But I do know that if I go under the telephone lines that I have gone too far.
On the boat, I have to pay attention not only to where I am going but also to where I have been. At least if I ever want to find my way home.
In high school I could not wait to get my license. I may not have had a fancy car, but I did have one that seated most of my friends, my parent's gas card and by far the best musical selection. Junior year my friends and I all had plans to hit the mall right after school to shop for homecoming outfits. I’m sure there would be stops at the Buckle, the Gap and Chickfila for dinner (because these were the days before Chickfilas outside a mall existed). The bell for last period finally rang and we all met at my car parked slightly askew. We buckled up, I adjusted my mirrors, turned up the radio and backed out. And then I drove straight home. It took awhile for my friends to notice that I was going the wrong way, but eventually someone piped up from the backseat…”Hey why aren’t we going to the mall?”. I had to confess that I didn’t know how to get to the mall. To which they all laughed because we had been to the mall no less than 637 times. And that was just since junior high. So I explained that I only knew how to get to the mall from my house. Not from school (which for the record was only like 1 mile and 3 turns away). They teased me a bit, but it gave us more time to cruise and we were 16. The only thing waiting on us was our precal homework....and we had no problems keeping it waiting.
I knew exactly where I was going.
I even knew how to get there.
I just didn’t know how to get there from somewhere else. There was no navigation system to type it into or google maps or annoying voice coming over the blue tooth saying “redirecting” every time I took a wrong turn.
So instead I went back to the route I knew.
It is hard to get lost these days, although I assure you I still try.
As long as I can get a phone signal I can find my way almost anywhere….
But sometimes I still struggle to know where I am.
To know how to get to where I want to be next even when I know exactly where it is.
But more often when I don’t.
Or I find myself on a less than familiar route.
I try to pay attention to where I am going as well as where I have been.
To get where we are going sometimes we have to find our way home.