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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On Suspending Belief (Or Why I am too Stupid to Drive)

We make a deal with the author when we read a book.......the deal is I will believe you.... if you don't let me down.

If you read a lot, you go into this deal easily, not even at bit skeptically. You say, Heck, I'll buy it! Calgon, take me away!

If you are a writer, you are even more gullible. It's not a bad thing, being most cases.

But then, if you are me, maybe you suspend your belief a little too easily.....hence the title: Why I am too Stupid to Drive.

Here's what happened:

Last night, I was driving a visiting friend (one of my fabulous writing/teaching buds from Albuquerque) up to visit her relatives in Redondo Beach. (About an hour and a half from my house). We stopped for some shopping on the way and eventually reached our destination after dark. So far so good.

It was on the way home that things got strange. We were on the 405 going south.
We passed a sign for Loyola Marymount.
"Mom, I didn't know Loyola was this far down....I thought is was further north," said my nineteen year-old, charged with the task of keeping me awake.
(clue #1...........duh)

"Wow, that plane is flying really low!" said my seventeen year old from the back seat. "And it's big, too!"
(clue #2.......duh)

"Oooooh!" I squeal. "Giant Severus Snape!!" I point to the gigantic poster, bigger than several stories, which was dwarfed by the huge skyscrapers is was nestlesd against.
(Clue #3....and yet, we continue driving)

This is where things got mindblowingly weird.....we passed a sign for the Getty Center. I had been bummed that we hadn't had time to drive Holly up to the Getty Center to see Van Gogh's Irises while she was here (next time, Hol). The Getty Center is near Malibu. MALIBU!

And still.....

"Can you believe this? We would have had time to go to the Getty was on the way to Redondo the whole time....(sounds of synapses instantly springing to life)
"NO WAY!!!"

Finally, we realized that we were actually on the freeway going NORTH....and had just driven about 40 minutes out of our way!

How could we not notice LAX???? Downtown LA??? And what? I actually though I had been wrong the whole time about where the Getty really was???

We checked the backs of our necks for alien abduction implants, as we wondered what the heck had just happened!!! (Eldest daughter had a wormhole theory....)

We really thought we were headed for home, so none of the little signs that conflicted with our belief registered.

My mind is still partially blown

I guess as a writer, the goal is to create a story in which people aren't distracted by road signs which say this could not be real! This could not happen! A story that people just want to go with......As long as you don't let them down in the end.

No one want to find out they were going the wrong direction on the 405.

No one.


P.S. Eventually, we were able to swerve across 4 lanes of traffic and get off at Getty Center Drive and turn around. I wonder what might have happened if our brains hadn't woken up. Heck, I'd probably be in Portland!


Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! Hilarious. I also fall into the category of too stupid to drive.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh my goodness, that is too funny! Makes for a great story! Glad to have discovered your blog!

storyqueen said...

Yeah, it's funny today...but last night, I was soooo tired and I was being a bit cranky about the drive anyway to begin with. What happens? I get to drive 1 HOUR and 20 Minutes longer!!!

Lesson learned.

Thanks for coming by, girls!

Stephanie Faris said...

I've had nights like that, believe me! I just always say I took the scenic route. I'm VERY directionally challenged.

storyqueen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie. I wish I could say it was the first time I went the wrong way......

I grew up in New Mexico with the Rocky Mountains as my guide (they were always EAST) and living now by the ocean with no mountains, I take a wrong turn almost every week!


Carrie Harris said...

I think we should start a Too Stupid to Drive club. I'm in. I'm so in.

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, and I might add.. I am too stupid to shop at bookstores. See my most recent post. I linked to you!

Stephanie Perkins said...

Ohhhh, I feel bad for laughing so hard :) The same thing happened to me last year — a 45 minute detour away from Charlotte and into furniture-making country. I didn't realize I'd made a wrong turn until I hit a dead end. In the base of a mountain. Whoops!

storyqueen said...

I think I am too stupid to do many things......I just try to keep my lameness a secret. Well, now you guys know.

Don't tell anyone, 'kay?

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Shelley, anyone who drives has gotta fess up. We've all been there. And anyway, L.A. makes people crazy. They all drive eighty formation like synchronized swimmers. Swimmers surrounded my heavy metal.

Amy Tate said...

LOL! I've had so many experiences just like that. I have NO sense of direction. Is that a writer thing? I just LOVE your blog, and I'm thrilled to have found you. The picture at the top is priceless.

storyqueen said...

Richard, driving in LA IS crazy....but not as bad as driving in New Mexico! (Seriously, there are more cars on the road in CA, but the amount of crazy lane-switching in NM defies belief!)

Amy, thanks for stopping by. The picture is from a book signing I did in December. It was a blast!


Casey McCormick said...

I did the EXACT sort of thing a few years ago. A girlfriend and I were driving to a town that's 45 minutes away from our hometown to shop. Shopping completed, we got back on the freeway to head home. Only, apparently, I got on the northbound rather than south.

We drove over a very large grade (nothing like it southbound - clue #1), wondered that the speed limit had been changed to 70 mph awhile later (oh, they must have done that today! clue #2), and finally got really confused when we saw a sign for a lake that was an hour and fifteen minutes north of the town we drove to (clue #3 being we should have been home 30 minutes before). So, nearly two and a half hours to get home.

No idea how we managed to miss those clues. For us, it was a fun drive home, laughing at ourselves and trying to figure out how we could be so dense.