Part of the job of farming is to rid us of everything we grow and raise. That means attending weekly farmer’s markets. Up until now, Steve and I have attended these together, but this is the first season that we agreed to sell at two different Saturday markets. That means we part ways as the sun comes up and head in different directions, one of going to Aiken and the other to a suburb of Columbia (Irmo). It seemed like a good idea when we agreed to work separately, but there is one small problem, I am directionally challenged.
Yes, heading out of my driveway alone is always an adventure. Usually I am the passenger on our outings. I am like the family dog going for a ride in the car; I look out the window full of wonder and then seem genuinely appreciative when the car stops at our destination. I look around like “wow! Look where we are!” This approach, my friends, does not work well when traveling solo.
Last year I made the fatal mistake of thinking I was superior to my GPS while traveling back from a conference in Charleston. I was certain that I could make it home without the “chick in the box”. I sang and danced as I drove along those country roads until it dawned on me that I should have already been back in Aiken. Panicked, I called Steve in a desperate attempt to regain my bearings. Turns out I was almost 100 miles deep into the State of Georgia. What should have been a two hour drive turned into five.
As my solo trip to the Irmo Farmer’s Market approached, I honestly had nightmares about getting lost. With the truck loaded to the roof with everything I need to participate in the market: table, banner, tent, coolers of eggs and chickens and crates of fresh produce, I took the helm on the driver’s side. Steve had his game face on as he solemnly handed me written directions because I don’t trust the chick in the box. He went over them three times before he allowed me to put the truck in gear.
I actually did all right getting there. But for the 10 minutes of driving in circles in a business complex parking lot because I couldn’t find the road where I was supposed to turn, I made it to the market unscathed. My confidence bubbled over as I sent my mandatory text to Steve letting him know I arrived at my destination.
At the close of the market I was jubilant. I sold well and felt really good about my skills behind the wheel. But there was one small problem, Steve gave me directions there, but he assumed I could just follow the same directions in reverse. Ummmmmm, no. No I cannot.
I panicked at the first intersection. “Think Karen, think.” If I turned left coming in I should turn right going out. “Okay, you can do this, just breathe.” Boo ya, I recognized that I was going in the right direction back to the interstate, but it all fell apart at the exchange. I could hear Steve’s voice in the driveway telling me “you don’t want to head towards Columbia, you want to take the exchange towards Spartanburg”. So what the F do I do on the way back! I froze. All I could think was take the exchange that says “to Spartanburg” and I did and I went in the completely wrong direction and I didn’t realize it for many, many miles and I started to cry because there wasn’t an exit for many many more miles and my reception was poor so I couldn’t get ahold of Steve and I swore I would never go to a farmer’s market alone again and after adding an extra hour to my trip, I arrived safely back at the farm.
This past Saturday was my second time going alone to the Irmo Market. My only mistake was made on the way home, right down the road about 2 miles. After exiting the interstate I turned left instead of right. Yes, I could practically see the farm and still went the wrong way. Some things just never change.