Hello there! It’s been a while, but this has been percolating in my head for a while now. Ever since, in fact, I had my first solo marketing presentation down in Pike County, almost two years ago.
I was driving one of the organization’s pool cars–thank goodness…more to come on that soon–and was eager to earn my stripes. I was meeting with a school district representative and had–as if I were Nostradamus–built in a little cushion, timing-wise.
Well, I was using the modern technological gift of GPS to guide me through the winding roads of southern Ohio and was about 20 minutes away from my destination when that mellifluous voice instructed me to turn onto Stewart Hollow Road.
Then I lost my GPS connection.
And Stewart Hollow Road is no road.
I was transported to a “Walking Dead/Deliverance/Lost/Lewis & Clark-esque” wilderness of a former covered wagon track. There was no where to turn around, with a cliff on my left and a ravine on my right! The car bottomed out at least five times, hard–I am still waiting for the paycheck deduction to show up in some sort of retroactive vengeance from the car pool attendant–I can’t believe I didn’t leave a major part of the drive train on Stewart Hollow “Road”.
For five miles this went on. I saw not one other vehicle, not one human (or mutant, banjo-playing, shambling face-eater)–I did think I saw the dilapidated remains of the shack from Jeepers Creepers, but that may have just been anxiety playing tricks on me.
With white-knuckles, a ticking clock and absolutely no clue where I was, I got to the end of Stewart Hollow “Road”. Long story short–by triangulating my location on the map, using trial and error to gauge the distance from my destination, I arrived two minutes late.
The presentation went fine–most of the time I was in a low-functioning haze of hyper-ventilation, caffeine and flop sweat–and, maybe to be pursued in a follow up narrative, my GPS took me home an entirely different way with no further incident. Was my phone channeling Yoda, Mr. Miyagi, Burgess Meredith and Pinhead all at once?
All of this to say, I was completely embarrassed at how helpless I felt. Yes, I used common sense and a some basic navigation to salvage some pride and my appointment. However, I have always envisioned myself as a “look-at-the-sun-lick-your-finger-and-gauge-the-wind-light-fires-underwater-duct-tape-paper-clip-and-a-handful-of-hot-gravel” kind of guy. We have become so dependent on that little rectangle in our pocket that the pioneer spirit is being leeched out of us through the ears and YouTube-notized eyes.
My experience reinforced my commitment to teaching my daughter a number of basic life skills, including:
- how to build a basic box with a hammer and nails
- how to play poker
- how to change a tire
- how to S-I-N-G (see Ms. Congeniality)
- how to advocate for herself without feeling embarrassed
I have a lot more that I want to pass along, but I will include those things in my next episode–but as a preface, when The Grid goes down, which I believe, in a non-conspiracy theorist vein, it will, what will our kids do if they can’t Google or YouTube the answer to basic survival strategies?
My plan is to create a fun, interactive yet educational camp experience for children in which they will face the impending onslaught from a zombie horde with only a tarp, a magnifying glass, some rope and a compass.
Maybe I’ll divest myself of some of the inadequacy I felt when I traveled on…
…Stewart Hollow “Road”.