Column: Getting lost is easy for men; asking for directions is not

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 20, 2002

The children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

The children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years. That is a long time to wander. My wife, The Queen B, says it was because Moses refused to stop and ask for directions. She says that men will never stop and ask for directions. Wives have to say things like that because they sometimes grow weary of the sheer perfection that most husbands offer. It is not right, but it is understandable.

Email newsletter signup

We are heading to an auditorium where I have a speaking engagement. My lovely bride is accompanying me. I am driving while my wife rides shotgun and assumes map-reading duties. We hit an area of road construction and numerous detours. I become slightly disoriented -&160;a polite way of saying that I become lost. Now I don’t mind being wrong. It brings so much joy to others. I try to spare my wife the bad news. She figures things out quickly -&160;too quickly.

&uot;You pass this way but once -&160;unless you are driving,&uot; says my wife. &uot;We are lost!&uot;

&uot;Nonsense,&uot; I say with as much assurance as I can muster. &uot;You may be lost, but I know exactly where I might be. Don’t worry your pretty little head, I am the best driver in Minnesota.&uot;

&uot;Yeah?&uot; she replies. &uot;Well, I think we may be in Wisconsin by now. What kind of a driver are you there? Would you please stop and ask for directions?&uot;

&uot;Directions are for wimps. Besides, when we were dating, I once asked your father for directions. He told me to get lost. Things like that make a man shy about asking for any more directions. Don’t worry. I am sure that I have been here before, but I was driving a pickup instead of a car then, so everything looks different. It would help if I had a compass in my pickup. I used to have one, but I lost it.&uot;

&uot;We are lost! Stop at that gas station and ask for directions.&uot;

&uot;It won’t do any good. I used to work at a gas station. People were always asking me for directions. I gave them driving instructions even when I was completely clueless as to how to get to their destination. Besides, anyone who hasn’t been lost for at least an hour in a large city really isn’t trying. The problem is that people in cities don’t give directions by using a water tower as a reference.&uot;

&uot;You are an idiot!&uot;

&uot;I can’t believe that you are calling me an idiot after we’ve been married for 32 years,&uot; I sputter.

&uot;I’m sorry,&uot; says my wife. &uot;I shouldn’t have waited so long. I am the only one in the family who has waited that long. Now stop and ask for directions.&uot;

&uot;Asking for directions wastes time that could be better spent looking at historical markers.&uot;

&uot;Stop at that gas station and ask for directions,&uot; pleads my bride.

&uot;See that gas station you want me to stop at? The fourth time we pass that gas station, I will stop and ask for directions. I promise.&uot;

&uot;You’ve just passed it for the fifth time.&uot;

&uot;Okay,&uot; I admit. &uot;The ninth time we pass this gas station, I will stop and ask for directions. May lightning strike me if I don’t. So what if we are a little lost? That makes our journey a bit of an adventure. It gives us the opportunity to see new and different places that we would not visit otherwise. We need to rejoice in our lostness.&uot;

&uot;What kind of a place are we looking for?&uot; she asks.

&uot;Well, it is a big brick or stick building with a tree in front of it. I believe the tree has leaves on it. At least it did the last time I saw it.&uot;

&uot;You don’t even know where it isn’t. I suppose this is what I get for marrying the class clown,&uot; sighs my wife. &uot;Actually, you weren’t the class clown, you were the class trapeze artist -&160;always suspended.&uot;

&uot;Now that is not true and I am not going to go to your pity party. Why don’t you try smiling? It is impossible to be miserable while you are smiling.&uot;

&uot;I do not feel like smiling and I will not feel like smiling until you stop and ask for directions,&uot; she says.

&uot;Okay,&uot; I say as we pass by the gas station for the sixth time. &uot;Then just do what I do whenever I am lost – relax and close your eyes. And don’t worry about a thing -&160;I know a shortcut.&uot;

Hartland resident Al Batt writes columns for the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the Tribune.