Chapter 25: When Does Late Become Lost?

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 4

The word “lost” can apply to many different circumstances.  One of the most common uses of the term applies to individuals who appear to be missing when they’re simply late.  A second example occurs when an individual doesn’t know the way, but someone else knows the directions.  Finally, at times, people can genuinely wander around lost with no idea where they’re going.  Although some of these situations are more humorous than others, upon reflection, they all have an element of levity.

My mother experienced the first example of the concept of “lost” as a Girl Scout leader.  After a meeting, one young scout asked her for a ride home since the scout’s mother couldn’t pick her up.  My mother thought about it, and then asked the girl if she knew the way home.  Mom wanted to be certain they wouldn’t get lost.  The scout answered with an emphatic “yes” twice, so my mother agreed.

The scout jumped into the passenger’s side of the front seat, and as soon as they began driving, the girl started giving directions.  They turned left down one street, and then turned right down another.  Then they turned down yet another street.  This constant turning and changing directions caused my mother to be concerned that perhaps her troop member didn’t really know the way at all.  So, mom finally asked the girl again if she knew where she was going.  The girl immediately responded by telling mom that they weren’t lost.  They were following the bus route she took every day!

The next example of getting lost happened to me as a young student.  After school, all students needing transportation boarded buses for home.  Each vehicle was identified with a cardboard color and a number on the inside window.  In this way, students recognized which buses to enter.  For example, my bus was red tag 3 and another was yellow tag 8.  For some reason, one day, I boarded yellow tag 8, but assumed (hoped) it would still take me home.  Gradually, as I studied the other students, I realized I didn’t recognize any of my friends.  Worse yet, the driver passed right in front of my house, but since my driveway was adjacent to the highway, he insisted on returning to the bus terminal and then driving me home.

Finally, the bus driver drove me home where my mother sat waiting for me in the living room.  Since I couldn’t stop crying hysterically, she finally shook me gently and asserted “you’re home! You’re Home!”  The feeling of being lost had worked on my childish imagination conjuring up the idea of being abandoned.  In truth, I really never proved to be lost, but I couldn’t understand that concept back then.

Nevertheless, I do remember when my wife, Donna, and I found ourselves really lost in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois.  It can be said that Donna almost never gets lost.  Whether we travel on highways, side roads, or forest trails, she can navigate remarkably well.  So generally, I have no concerns about following her lead.  Yet, in the deep woods a major problem surfaced.  After hiking in the woods for several miles, it became obvious that the trail included a number of side trails like tributaries of a river.  Eventually it became impossible for Donna to find our way back out of the woods.

Although we felt rattled, we stopped to devise a plan.  Since we remembered we were the only car in the parking lot, we knew no one would be hiking in the woods to help us.  Briefly, I even attempted to recall my Boy Scout survival training, but all I could think about were bears and dehydration.

It also occurred to Donna that we could walk deeper into the woods instead of finding our way to the parking lot because there proved to be no reliable landmarks.  After about four hours (45 minutes), two adults on horseback found us and gave us good direction to the trailhead.

You’d think that by the time we reached our motel, we’d be jubilant.  Unfortunately, we discovered we both had a few wood ticks.  Donna hates ticks and snakes, and I hate mice. So it was my turn to step up.

Now I could end this little piece asserting that we’re all lost in one way or another, and being lost is the human condition.  Of course, that would be corny and not entirely true.  Sometimes, the thrill of being found is almost worth the fear of getting lost.


Submitted: September 14, 2021

© Copyright 2021 John F Zurn. All rights reserved.

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