When Your Best Plans Take You for a Ride

A Facebook friend wanted to know what the best thing was we had planned for our day. And – NO sarcasm, please, only happy ideas.

(She is a rah-rah life coach.)

Geez, coach, my day is not complete without sarcasm, or at least some droll or semi-dark humor. In fact, I wouldn’t have made it this far, a few decades, without laughing at myself hanging onto the frayed, whiplashing rope of my life.

Some days the sun is shining, some days it is not. I have no control over that. I do my best to feel the sun and smell the air on warm days and walk tall and bundled up on damp, shivering days.

My plan for the day, after wrangling finances, was to return a book I didn’t like to the bookstore and exchange it for one I would like.

I had bought “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist. I thought I liked his ideas, as much as I understood them on a Bill Maher TV interview as he rattled off suggestions such as “Stand up straight, Pick friends who want what’s best for you …”

I had a crush on his pleasant demeanor and accent, Canadian, being Canadian-born myself. Normally I read reviews before buying or checking out a book, but this time I didn’t, I just jumped in, like a fool in love with superficial good looks and too-good-to-be true ideas.

I was so disappointed! Conservative. In love with mythology. Anti-feminist. Crap!

Reminded me of the arrogant, condescending male poets I ran into at readings. They were so enthralled with their cleverness and intellect they couldn’t see or listen to anyone around them.

I threw the book in the trunk of my car where it lay for a few days. And so, today, an appointment cancelled, was the day to take it back.

I headed south down the road that crosses Mission Bay and the San Diego River. Was just over the first bridge that crosses the bay when I see slowing traffic and a white car turned sideways across the road, blocking access to the second bridge. It’s a Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP) car. All cars were being forced to go to the right.

For a few seconds I wondered if it was a mistake and considered barreling straight through. You are not even real police! But because I did not want to hit other seniors or land in the bay, I was swept up in the caravan of vehicles shooting off the main road into a big circle east. The exits and entrances here loop around, diverge and converge quickly, and it’s hard to keep track of what direction you are driving in, especially if you don’t take the side roads often. Soon I was hurtling alongside the San Diego River, past Sea World with its other-worldly new roller coaster rising into the sky. It’s the Electric Eel, due to open in a few days, “… the tallest, fastest roller coaster in Sea World’s history, a multi-launch coaster with high-energy twists, electrifying loops and inversions,” according to their website.

Fly past that and the only way back around to my destination was to head into the beginnings of Mission Valley, turn into the Old Town Trolley Station, slow down for the tracks and pedestrians, and miraculously come out onto the street where the bookstore is located (but not before going down a dead-end street and having to turn around in a junk yard).

Heading home an hour later, I took a chance, hoping the road was clear on the south end. No such luck! This time, real police cars, several of them blocking the bridge over the river. And the only way to go was east on the 8 Freeway, into Mission Valley. I zoom-zoomed past the Mazda dealership where I had taken my RX-8 the day before, waving mentally at the woman service rep and wondered if she was enjoying the mystery novel I’d given her. Traffic was fast and heavy, and I couldn’t get off for a couple of exits, but once I did and got turned around, it was an easy, if long, drive home. What should have been about an hour’s outing took me almost three.

Would I describe this as a happy day with the best of plans? In a roundabout, rollercoaster way, yes. My day/ride took on a life of its own. Picked me up, tossed me around, but brought me safely back to ground zero.

And the new book I got made it all worthwhile: Trevor Noah’s “Born in Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.” Host of The Daily Show, he is known for his satire, surreal humor, black comedy. I was already an admirer of his mind and his looks, but now I’m in love for life. (Is that sarcasm?)



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About me and head wind journal A head wind is a wind that slows us down. Stops our forward motion, at least temporarily. During this lull, I feel the mind breezes. Like clouds above the ocean, they may take shape or drift away. I sailed into the blogging world in January of 2013. At the time, I was still working as a freelance writer, that is, writing for clients and the local newspaper. So I set up head wind journal as an outlet for my own essay writing – and for the photos I take while walking around. It’s been fun, more fun than working!

4 thoughts on “When Your Best Plans Take You for a Ride”

  1. My plans seem to take me for a ride even when I don’t leave the house, but that’s just become part of my age and retirement. Danny & I watch Trevor every night The Daily Show is on & love his perspective. Like him, I grew up “criminal” — gay in the Midwest in the 1960s. Thanks for posting this, Linda!

  2. Loved your blog, and yes, Trevor Noah is a treasure! We listened to his book on audio driving to Arizona last fall; kept us entertained and shuffling between laughter and gasps of horror at some of the predicaments he got himself into growing up! Enjoy it; I’m sure you will savor every word.

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