A few weeks ago I made my annual pilgrimage to Scotland. I drove for over six hours in a car that was packed fuller than a sardine tin, with me, two teenagers, one pre-teen, two largish dogs, and a mound of luggage which included a mini-fridge [so that we could have cold milk for our cereal, at the Travelodge where we were staying].
And this year, as indeed it had the year before, and the year before that, the Glasgow Motorway [as I like to call it in my technical way] snared me, savaged me and spat me back out in a whimpering heap.
Every single year I get to a point just outside of Glasgow where the motorway signs seem to indicate that I should travel in two opposing directions at once, in order to arrive at my chosen destination. At this point, ever cool headed, I resort to my usual asking of the kids, “Which way, left or right?” and when no answer is forthcoming, I resort to yelling, eyes wide and wild, little veins of red showing through the whites, “WHICH WAY DO I GO? OH DEAR GOD I’VE GONE THE WRONG WAY!”
And this year was no different. Except for one notable exception. I took the wrong exit as usual, knowing that I always did but unable to actually remember which one was the right one… But partway through trying to rectify it and get back onto the motorway, I actually recognised the landmarks due to the fact that I had gone wrong at exactly the same spot the previous occasion and the one before that and the…
This, if nothing else proved a point - I am not beyond learning. Perhaps not enough to stop myself from making the mistake in the first place, but at least enough not to compound the issue when I do.
This was particularly obvious when I had to drive into the centre of Glasgow and found that there was a strange one-way system going on which meant that at all times you could see where you wanted to get to, but couldn’t physically get there unless you suddenly and inexplicably acquired the strength of Atlas and lifting the car aloft on one shoulder, were able to hoist it through pedestrian areas and the wrong way up one way-streets.
So why don’t I use a map or a sat-nav? Well the answer to the satellite navigation conundrum lies buried in a previous column and as for the map… The truth is that I am a Glaswegian by birth, so I kind of have this belief that I can find my way around, if not by memory, then by osmosis, where I basically absorb the knowledge unconsciously from strangers passing by. Hey why not? – They are Glaswegian, I am Glaswegian – can’t you catch knowledge like you do the common cold?
Apparently not! Maybe this Christmas I will treat myself to a map… then again perhaps that would just ruin the annual adventure.