Liberty was struggling yesterday with trying to figure out which way to twist the salt grinder to be counter clockwise. She was feeling foolish, and this story came to mind. It made her feel better instantly.
Blaine and I had been dating a short time. I was 18, he was 24. I was already feeling rather out of my league, mostly as far as age and life experiences go. I’d been living “on my own” as a live-in nanny on Long Island for just a few months, and Blaine had spent a year in France, traveled to England with friends, graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and was working full time and renting his grandmother’s house. (She’d moved into a retirement home.)
I drove to spend one Sunday with him in New Jersey, and we were on the way home from the evening service at church. Since I was driving my boss’ car, Blaine wasn’t allowed to drive it. That left me, completely turned around in a different state, taking directions from Blaine in the passenger seat.
I’d always had a problem with right and left. I found myself turning north to face the direction my class had been facing way back in first grade in public school, when my teacher taught right and left. Problem: driving doesn’t allow you this privilege. Problem: I didn’t even know which way was north on the curvy hilly roads of northern New Jersey.
Blaine gave instruction for my to make a right up ahead. I turned left.
Left turned out to be down some perfect stranger’s really, really, steep driveway, full of cars, with no place to turn around.
Here’s where I should insert a major issue: my boss’ car, that I was driving, was old. Really old. Beat up. Really beat up. Ornery. Specifically, it didn’t like to go into reverse. It was a try, try, try again method to get it to drop into reverse. I avoided the issue by parking in pull through spots.
So there I was, in some stranger’s yard, trying to get the car to drop into reverse so I could back out onto a pretty busy road and head back up the hill the other way.
Somewhere in all of this, mortification set in. My dear now-husband was laughing at my predicament, and I just wanted to shrivel up and die of embarrassment.
Eventually, the car cooperated, I got out of the driveway, didn’t kill us backing out into the busy road, and headed up the other way. I’ve yet to live that one down, though.
Somewhere along the way, in the nearly 12 years since, right and left has sunk in properly and I can give and take directions without messing them up. And now my dear daughters are a bit less mortified about struggling with clockwise and counter clockwise directions.
So glad I could be of service.