"You always take all these back ways to get anywhere." Sandi has always been frustrated by how I drive us to Audubon Park
for our daily walk, and pretty much how I drive anywhere. I avoid the interstate like the plague
. I take the bus route, which is always the most circuitous, to work every morning.
But at the same time, the few routes I do know I know very well. In New Orleans, you need to know where the potholes are ahead of time, if you value your suspension. I know every dip and pothole from home to work. I know all the slow stop lights, when I can speed and when I will encounter stop and go traffic. I know how long it will take me to get from point A to point B, even if it takes 15 minutes longer the way I do it.
It's something you take for granted when you leave the area in which you are most accustomed to driving on a daily basis. It is the first way passersby can tell whether you know where you're going, the first true mark for a tourist motorist. Pedestrian tourists are much easier to detect. When I visit other people's towns and cities, they always drive. Shmuel mentioned that while I am visiting him in Grand Rapids next week, he may have to work and suggested I could take his car and do stuff on my own if I wanted. I don't. Getting lost on foot is far more fun, and it's at a speed I can handle. Thanks but no thanks.
I remember how vast anyplace I moved to seemed on the outset, how even Lynchburg College (having had an enrollment of only 1,500 when I attended) in Virginia seemed looming and scary for the first few months. Even on the ten mile long island I grew up on in Ocean City, Maryland, I didn't see the other half of it until I was at least 12 or so, the age when my mom felt comfortable letting me ride the bus by myself. But once I was, I knew every inch of it. Same deal with New Orleans. There are sections of it that I still have yet to see, but the sections I do know I know too well. It shrinks all around me, feeling like a cheap shirt that was never assembled to retain its shape.
This is one of the many reasons I want to move on.