One day in 1983…..
A friend invited me to spend a weekend at his cottage and drew a map showing me how to get there. I left right after work last Friday. I found the map hard to follow and wound up lost on a country road. I stopped to ask a farmer for directions. He hadn’t heard of my friend but he said there were about a dozen cottages some five or six miles away. He told me how to get to them. I thought it was worth a try so I started off.
After I made several turns the road began to get bad. Then it got worse. I slithered through a couple of mud holes. I scraped the bottom of my car on a rock. Once I even had to stop to remove an old tree limb that had fallen and blocked the way. Suddenly I found myself driving right into a swamp. My car bogged down to the hubcaps in black mud. Getting out on my own was hopeless. I knew I would need help.
By now it was dusk and I didn’t want to set out walking through unfamiliar country. I spent an uncomfortable night in my automobile. Next morning I climbed a big pine tree to see if I could spot any cottages ahead. There was nothing but more trees and rocks.
I did discover one thing pine trees are covered with gooey pitch and if you climb one you can junk your clothes. I decided the only thing to do was walk out the way I came in. It took all morning to get back to the farmer’s house. No one was home. I was sticky and hungry and hot and there was no choice but to hoof it another mile to the next farm. Luckily the people were in and they had a telephone. The farmer was very helpful. He said I’d been on a road to an old, abandoned mica mine.
He said snowmobilers and hunters kept it fairly free of fallen timber but it hadn’t been used by automobiles for years. The farmer called a local garage and it sent a tow truck. We all rode back to the swamp. The tow truck couldn’t budge my car. The car was stuck too deeply. The driver said he would have to call another garage that had a big truck with a winch and four-wheel drive. The big truck had to come 30 miles and it didn’t arrive until after 5 p.m. The driver was sure he could pull me out easily and he was right.
But my total bill for both trucks was close to $50. I thought the first farmer, the one who misdirected me the day before, should pay part of my expense. After all, his bad advice had ruined my weekend and cost me a lot of money. I went to see him. He flatly refused to pay. He said I had made a turn he never told me to take. I’m sure I followed his directions exactly.
The farmer was probably right, that I misunderstood his directions. After all, he lived in the area and ought to know the difference between a mica mine and a lake. Anyway, there was plenty of warning that something had gone wrong. The fallen tree limb should have been an unmistakable clue. That wasn’t likely in midsummer on a road that leads to a dozen cottages 🙂 I guess I should have turned down the radio when I first realized I was lost LOL!
So why, then, are we wonky about the radio volume when it comes time to look for an upcoming exit sign or when we’re approaching an unfamiliar destination? It has to do with the demands on our ability to concentrate, and the limitations of the human brain.