Smith Says

  • Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Did you hear about the Massachusetts family who got lost in a Halloween corn maze and called 9-1-1?
Police in Danvers, MA received the panicked call about 6:32 p.m. on Oct. 9. The mom said the family was all turned around at Connors Farm, near Salem. (Cue creepy Stephen King music and witchy cackles.)
In the recorded call, which was released to the media on Oct. 11, the woman said she, her husband and their children had become disoriented and were done trying to get out of the 7-acre maze.
It's really dark,” she informed the dispatcher, “And we've got a 3-week-old baby with us." (My response would be “WHY?” but I’ve never had a kid, so maybe trucking an infant through a maze after dark is something moms routinely do.)
After being assured officers were on the way, the mother blurted, “We thought this would be fun. Instead it's a nightmare. I don't know what made us do this.” (I have a good idea, but let’s wait a minute.)
Police arrived and a tracking dog located the family almost immediately. They were…. wait for it… 25 feet from the street. Less than 10 yards from freedom.
Maze owner Bob Connors said it usually takes people about an hour to find their way out of the towering cornstalks. But, he said cheerfully, “I’m sure they won’t be the last family who gets lost in there. I have a feeling it's going to be a real busy season."
Three-week-old baby aside, I suspect what made Mom step into the maze is the same impulse that gets me into trouble: She thought, “How bad can it be?”
I ask myself that every time before I get lost, which is roughly nine times a day.
My name is Julie, and I have no sense of direction. None.
I can’t find my toothbrush without a map. I leave a trail of crumbs when I walk to the mailbox. At any given moment, I have no idea whether I’m facing north, south or the seventh circle of hell.
I have GPS in my car, which only sounds comforting. It actually means that an icy voice keeps screaming, “Turn left. TURN LEFT!!!!” as I drive the wrong way down one-way streets.
It has always been thus. As a child I got lost walking home from school, the park and the corner store. Thirty years ago I went to pick up my mother’s dog from the vet and wound up somewhere south of Memphis. We lived in North Carolina.
Today, after 22 years in the lowcountry, I still can’t get to Sullivan’s Island. I have no clue where Awendaw or Hollywood might be.
My husband tries to be understanding, but this is a man who can fly to a foreign country and drive to a business using nothing but symbols scrawled on a cocktail napkin.
When we were dating he took me to Las Vegas. One day I asked him to stop at a convenience store. I went in, bought a soda, walked out the opposite door and wandered around the parking lot until he spotted me and blew the horn. He was laughing hysterically. And three months later he married me anyway.
Luckily, he’s still laughing. And I stay far away from mazes.
Julie R. Smith, whose lack of direction is probably a metaphor for mental issues, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com

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