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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Directions (02/02/04)

TITLE: Copilot
By Lynda Vernalia
02/06/04

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Okay, night has fallen, the headlights have been turned on and my gas gauge is pinging on “E.” Look, here comes the snow. Here I am, lost on some Cambridge back road and not a gas station in site. I widen my eyes, hunker down and start humming “Amazing Grace” as insurance for a safe ride home.

I should know this area, having lived with my father in Watertown for so many years, relishing the bohemian life of Harvard Square, but one step past Memorial Hall and a wrong turn and suddenly I have no idea where I am. I take a left to take another left to hopefully get myself out of this mess, but the next street is a One Way which curves to the right. So, now I am headed east when I am trying to go west... or is that the other way around? Flung headlong into side streets by headlights in the rearview, I hold on to my temper. The humming increases.

...Cow paths. Why am I thinking that? Because I am lost in a Greater Metropolitan area designed by cow paths. I do not know what they fed cows back them, but they must have been raised on some good mash to walk so crookedly. No wonder it took so long for the cows to come home. Man, I have got to get off the road.

I pull over into a Dunkin Donuts to ask directions. The guy at the counter with the unknown ridiculously thick accent seems to live next door, according to his hand gestures. No help. I pull out my clear plastic folder of maps from Maine to Alabama to Barcelona, Spain. Unearthing my “Guide to Harvard,” I look up to start comparing street signs when I realize there aren’t any. Sigh. Watching the snow fall a little harder, I say out loud, “Now what, Lord?”

Suddenly, I hear church bells that I recognize. They ring from the church on the corner of -- where else? -- Church Street. I think the sound is coming from behind me. In full song, I bang an illegal U-turn and take a left, praying God will forgive. Through the snow-smeared windshield I recognize a local bookstore right of the red light I have stopped at. Mass Ave should be up a few streets. From there I can maneuver through Brattle Square over to Mount Auburn and head back towards Watertown. Still singing, I glance down at that little “E” and smile, confident God has kept a few gallons tucked away to get me home.


Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Baker02/09/04
Lynda, I certainly relate to this story. Thanks!
L.M. Lee02/09/04
been there too!
Donna Anderson02/10/04
"E" for Everpresent help! :)
Violet Nesdoly02/14/04
Lynda, can relate to driving and not know if east or west - horribly disorienting! Chuckled over this line: "I do not know what they fed cows back them, but they must have been raised on some good mash to walk so crookedly."