If I ask you to think of that thing your spouse, partner or best friend does that bugs you the most, does something immediately spring to mind? Probably a few things. I know. Well, for me, it’s the map thing. Long before I realized that Jerry was a map freak (and I hope my use of this term won’t offend freaks in general), I understood that his father was … unusually motivated by directions. You could say you were walking to the apartment building next door, and he’d ask how you were going to get there. (No. No he wouldn’t. I’m exaggerating. But not by much.) Lenny was a fantastic father-in-law. I loved him a LOT. But he was a map freak, and his son carries the gene.
I drive, by myself, to all sorts of places, all the time. But if Jerry is in the car, a conversation inevitably ensues about how I’m choosing to get to our shared destination. High on our list of disagreements is that little discussion about the best way to travel south on 89. Will I take the back route to get on the interstate out near the big box stores in Williston? Will I go out of my way, north on Dorset Street, and hop on the interstate there, only to turn south at that point? Will I drive to Shelburne Road? When he asks which route I’m planning to take, I immediately choose the wrong one. It’s a gene I carry: the insecure-but-defensive freak’s snap judgement.
“Why are you going THIS way?” I should have that engraved on my tombstone.
Two things have happened on this trip, both of which have probably been good for our marriage. Jerry has recognized that he obsesses over maps and directions and possible routes. And I have recognized that this obsession, while irritating as hell, has kept us safe.
Now that we have finished with the Adventure Cycling maps which we’d purchased to make our way 3/4 of the way home, we plan some of the routes together. We pour over maps, smart phones, and the little bike Garmin. We discuss options. Mostly it’s kind of fun. If map freaskishness is a virus, then I may be in a little bit of trouble.
That said, when we get home, I’ll take whatever damned route I want to the interstate: just watch me.