Sometimes, it is because we have.
This past week I drove to New Orleans and back. On the return trip, I was past Baton Rouge to Lafayette on interstate ten. I realized it was about time to stop, get out, stretch my legs, and maybe get some lunch. Perusing the food signs along the highway, I noticed a Chick-fil-A was at the next exit. I enjoy their signature sandwich. Today would be a good day for one, I thought.
The exit for the fast food restaurant came up and I exited the highway. Louisiana highways and roads are unlike those in Texas in two respects relevant to this story. First, the eating places are not immediately available on the feeder roads for the ramps on and off the highway. They are typically placed on a road which comes off the feeder road at a ninety degree angle. In this instance, however, the restaurant I sought was not to the right, but to the left.
I turned left, drove under the highway and down to a mall which sat to the right. After meandering down a ways and through a large parking lot, I came to the Chick-fil-A. I got out, went inside, got my sandwich, and ate it. Sated, I got back in my car and tried to turn out of the mall parking lot. There I came upon the second way in which Louisiana's streets and roads differ from those in Texas: often left turns are not available across traffic. Rather, one must turn to the right and drive until encountering a U-turn, where the one hundred eighty degree turn sends one back in the direction he or she came.
You can see where this is going - the wrong way. As I approached the highway, I completely forgot that I had crossed over to the other side of the highway in search of a chicken sandwich. Seeing the highway ramp to right, I entered it and quickly got up on the highway and sped off.
Years ago, when my Dad drove the family on a five thousand mile trip to Idaho every other summer, he had a strict rule against patronizing any business not on the right side of the road or highway. Gas stations, stores, motels, parks, sights - they had to be on the right or he would keep going until he came to one on the right. It's a rule I still follow, most of the time. But not this time.
The result did not manifest itself to me until some thirty minutes later, when I looked up to see this sign: "Baton Rouge - 20 miles." As the realization hit me that I was nearly back to the city I had passed through an hour and a half earlier, as I saw a construction crew in the center of the highway which appeared to be weirdly familiar, Yogi Berra's saying rang in my ears. It's like deja vu all over again!
After allowing myself thirty seconds of loud grumbling, I found the next exit, took it, turned back to the west, and re-entered interstate ten headed toward Texas. Thirty minutes later I was giving that Chick-fil-A across the highway a dirty look as I passed it over an hour after I stopped at it for lunch.
"Well," I thought, "at least now I know what I'll write about this week."
© 2014, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.