Today I got utterly, hopelessly lost following a bike trail in the woods. Based on the mental map I had of the area, I can't imagine how I wound up where I did. I followed this trail for like 45 minutes. The map in my head said I had to come out at my campus, the road my campus is on, or the road on the opposite side of the woods, which we fondly refer to as Chewbacca/Chew Tobacco Road. Either that or hit the waterfront - inevitably. None of these things had happened yet and I started to worry.

I spied a little street down a hill to my right. The hill was steep, and there wasn't a trail going down to the street, so I stayed on the path. Then I came to a car. Right in the middle of the woods. There was no road leading to it; it must have driven on the footpath, and it must have been a long, long time ago, because this retro car lay open to the world, doors busted off and half-buried in the dead leaves.

Finally getting a little sketched out, I called up Wanda, just to hear a human voice speak reason in my ear. I was glad I still had a cell phone. I was glad reception still existed. I'd gotten the impression I'd walked into some sort of time warp or something and technology was long dead, or not even invented yet. I thought I would end up like one of Isaac Marion's characters, wandering the unfamiliar woods as centuries fly by without my knowledge until suddenly I come across this TV in the middle of nowhere and find a mile-long power cord to plug it in so I can watch the silver static flicker on the screen.

Wanda and I decided I should turn around and follow the bike trail the way I'd come. I should find my way back before either dusk or rain decided to fall. I have a very good sense of relative direction - that is, I can find my way back through a maze the way I've just come. This comes in handy since I often miss signs while driving until I've passed the turn I wanted. But this maze was beyond my comprehension. There were so many little turn offs that I couldn't recognize the one I'd come from. I wished I could've thought like Hansel and Gretel and left myself some sort of clue. Instead I doubled back again and found the road. At least that HAD to lead to civilization (if civilization still existed).

I promptly stumbled upon a cornfield and thought, "Crap. I'm in the middle of frickin Nebraska now. How do these things happen to me?"

But then I found an intersection with a road I knew (it had a yellow line down the middle - I knew I was safe then) and followed that road to a little farm stand. Walking in to ask for directions, all I could think about was how much I wanted food. You'd think I'd been wandering the woods for days the way I drooled over the fresh fruit and the tantalizing prospect of guacamole. But of course, I didn't have money with me. I don't generally bring cash into the woods with me. What am I going to buy? Mushrooms?

So instead of food, I got directions to my school. I cannot imagine how I was where I was. I followed the road back to the intersection where Aaron and I scared that driver that one time we hid in the bushes. It was still a half hour walk back to my dorm from there. By the time I got to Woodland, the student overflow parking lot, my legs hurt so bad that I was going probably 1/4 mile per hour. But someone was looking out for me when I left campus with, of all random things, CAR KEYS in my pocket! I gave up on walking and drove the last 100 yards home. The end.


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