The thing that causes me the most sorrow about driving the roads of the DC metro area is that they are not laid out in nice, left-sided sensible grids and they cross at an angle! I went to visit my sister in Baltimore, Maryland once. My husband and I left her house off Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., took the wrong side of a fork, and in trying to course-correct ended up in someplace called Druid’s Hill.
Brothers and sisters, six streets that meet in a circle or unceremoniously dump travelers on entirely different routes with a slight curve in the road might make lovely patterns if seen from the air. However, they are a curse to new drivers in the area.
I am reminded of the day I found myself facing oncoming traffic in the wrong lane on my first solo trip to Woodbridge Mall in New Jersey and driving down the street backwards at 40 miles an hour until I could back into a gas station. Heaven’s protection is why I am alive to tell the tale. Here I am, a much more experienced driver, living in Northern Virginia many years later yet occasionally, while driving I will misread the road at a crossing and accidentally track into the opposing lane of traffic.
I remember when my daughter and I taught summer bible school in Scotland a few years ago that people seemed to us to be driving on the “wrong” side of the road. When we returned to the States we both had to reorient because Scotland–including her driving habits– had so worked herself into our systems. Ever after when either of us accidentally headed into the opposing lane, we ribbed each other with, “where do you think you are? Downtown Glasgow?”, or “doing a bit of Scottish driving, huh?” It became our private joke.
Careers sometime track into the opposing lane. The traffic–going with the field that promises the most money– and authenticity–doing what you really are– go in opposite directions more times than not. Quite an uncomfortable feeling to oppose family, culture, and education. Lonely. Disturbing. Stressful. There is always the danger of misreading the road; of ending up in the opposing lane of traffic; of loosing direction. But, that, including switching career direction, momentary disorientation and the odd bit of driving on the “wrong” side of the road, is all part of living life.