Epic Journey

The other night, our family’s driving schedule was very complicated. Everyone had to be in a different place at the same time, so driving duties were split up. I was chosen as the chauffeur for my 10-yr old brother Evan, who had a Karate class in Scottsdale. My 16-yr-old sister Kayla joined as designated driver’s companion. This is the story of our journey.

After making a quick stop by the bank for dinner money (well, it was supposed to be quick, but I typed in the wrong PIN four times because the sun glared on the ATM screen, so I had to go inside the bank), we headed toward the 101 freeway at 4:45. I was driving the monster van, the one that has like five hundred blind spots and sways around every turn. (Not my favorite.) As soon as we entered the freeway, I surrendered the job of finding radio stations to Kayla, and I gripped the steering wheel in a death squeeze. Every mile I headed north on the freeway seemed to get faster and faster as I fought to keep that beast of a vehicle in its narrow lane. I think Kayla was talking to me about Christmas presents or volleyball or something, but I couldn’t really hear her. I hate the 101. 

Evan’s Karate studio is at Shea and Frank Lloyd Wright, so we exited at 90th street. As soon as we got off, I relaxed my arms, flexed my stiff leg, and let out a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, our troubles were just about to begin.

Kayla and I both agreed that a left turn after a few miles would take us to our destination, while Evan insisted that we had to turn right first. As I came to a stop at the first red light, I calmly asked Evan where this right turn would be.

“Right here!!!!” he yelled.

Of course, there was no way I could get into the right-turn lane, so while Evan hyperventilated and Kayla moaned, I made a neat turnaround in a restaurant parking lot after the intersection. Then we headed in the right direction.

After driving along a winding road and successfully reaching Shea, I was mentally patting myself on the back for escaping further difficulty. I congratulated myself too soon. 

As we headed east, Kayla and I were busy explaining to Evan that I need to be told where to turn before I reach an intersection. Then I looked up at the road name posted on the intersection above me as I drove under it, and I realized it said “Frank Lloyd Wright.” After pondering this deeply for a few moments, I asked Evan, “Isn’t your studio on Frank Lloyd Wright?”


“Uh, yeah.”

Another U-turn was nicely executed at the next light, which happened to be three more miles down the road. As we finally, headed up FLW, I asked Kayla and Evan which way I should turn. Here is our exchange:

Kayla: Right here. NO, the next one! Yeah, that one.
Evan: NO! 
Me: Is that it, the one that says ‘Karate.’
Kayla: Um . . .
Evan: NO!!
Kayla: I thought this was it . . .
Evan: This is not it!
Me: Evan, which way should I go?
Evan: This is NOT it!!
Me: Evan, I understand, where do I go?
Evan: THIS is NOT it!!!
Me: EVAN, I understand, just tell me where to go!

After we revived Evan, he helped me find his studio a little farther down the road. He was twenty minutes early.

The moral of this story is: the journey is always more exciting than the destination. At least for the driver.

(Originally posted 12/3/09)


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