My best friend from high school came in from Israel for a family visit recently, and my only job was to find a way to get to where she was staying in order to catch up. It seems like it should be easy to get from one part of Long Island to another, to see an old friend I rarely get to see, but I’m me, so…
I downloaded WAZE on my phone, per Mom’s instructions, and also printed out a hard copy of the directions from Google Maps to study ahead of time. I’d managed a trip out to the Far Rockaway area a couple of years ago without WAZE, for a visit with the same friend, but it’s a route I rarely drive and I wanted to be prepared.
And then I had a flare, or a worsening of my symptoms, or whatever I’m supposed to call it. My symptoms have been bad for a while now (exhaustion, pain, brain fog, Psoriasis and Lichen Planus outbreaks, walking trouble, breathing trouble, headaches, etc.), but on the Thursday before the visit things got even worse, to the point where Mom had to drive me to and from work to avoid a possible disaster on the road.
I still thought the flare would pass by the day of the visit, though, and I avoided anything stressful or difficult in the days leading up to it, in hopes of recovering in time. But when I got up that Sunday morning, I knew I couldn’t do the drive; I could barely figure out how to open WAZE on my phone and make the directions appear. So Mom volunteered to drive me.
It’s embarrassing to be an adult who needs her Mom to drive her to a get together, or to what my students would call “a play date,” but it was either be embarrassed or miss the visit altogether.
Mom and I had both programmed our phones for the route, out of an abundance of caution and anxiety, so even after we’d decided to just use my phone, held aloft in the passenger seat so I could repeat the directions as many times as necessary to avoid missing our exits, Mom’s phone kept talking, in an echo. I finally figured out how to shut down her phone completely in order to make the echoing stop (later I realized that I could just have pressed stop on the WAZE screen, but, as I said, brain fog).
We still had a hard time following the directions, of course, missing a few turns here and there, and then WAZE told us about a hazard up ahead, too late for us to turn around and change the route, and we found ourselves driving through a lake in the middle of the road. The car swam for twenty feet or so before getting to dry road on the other side, but it survived again.
In my job as holder of the phone, I also discovered that WAZE likes to put little smiley faced icons all over the screen, which look suspiciously like the hidden pictures in one of my phone apps that I’m trained to tap with my finger until they are all removed and I win lots of points. I was just barely able to stop myself from pressing all the icons, so I have no idea what would have happened to the directions if I’d given in. We’d probably have ended up in Brooklyn.
But we managed to get to our destination on time and safely, and it was a joy to see my friend again. Mom dropped us off at a coffee place to chat and then spent the next two hours on her own, taking pictures of big rocks and collecting shells at the beach, and then we dropped my friend off back at her sister’s house, with lots of hugs, and started up the WAZE again, a little more hopeful that the drive home would be uneventful. And despite some interesting “short cuts,” leading us behind factories and through one way roads that seemed more like driveways (probably to avoid the lake in the road), we made it safely home to the dogs, just in time for their afternoon walk.
Ellie was thrilled to see us and zoomed around the yard in circles and figure eights, with breaks to come back and give us hugs and kisses, and Cricket spent her time sniffing scientifically at small patches of grass, searching for messages from her friend Kevin, the mini Golden Doodle, and looking longingly at the steps in front of his building, to no avail.
And then we were back inside, home, with WAZE silenced and no more left turns to make across traffic, and I was relieved. The fact is, I was incredibly lucky to have Mom there to drive me, and WAZE to help us get there safely, and a good friend to meet with and catch up on all of the life events that can’t be shared in a text. Life has so many moving parts, with so many hazards along the way, but every once in a while the puzzle pieces actually come together. And it’s wonderful!
If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Young Adult novel, Yeshiva Girl, on Amazon. And if you feel called to write a review of the book, on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.
Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish teenager on Long Island, named Isabel, though her father calls her Jezebel. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes it’s true. As a result of his problems, her father sends her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, and Izzy and her mother can’t figure out how to prevent it. At Yeshiva, though, Izzy finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?
That was so good that your mom could help you out!
I was so lucky!
I’m glad you were able to see your friend. Have to admit, I giggled at the thought of you pressing all those smiley faces like on your game. HA! Why would they include those on a map???
Just to mess with me, clearly.
The echo made me laugh. My husband has a GPS in his car, but he likes me to pull up directions on my phone whenever we are going somewhere. I finally had to tell him one of us has got to go because my phone was always one step ahead of his GPS. He now shuts the GPS down and let me and my phone navigate. Too many voices!!
It was so eerie!
I use the google maps app that my came with my phone. I used Waze for a while but I liked the google maps app better. Sometimes you cannot use GPS. I’ve encountered two scenarios. My google maps app as well as a traditional GPS system (I think a Garmin) went bonkers in the middle of Manhattan due to the Canyon Effect. In other places far out in the countryside of Oklahoma the signal is so bad and the maps so incomplete that is not reliable.
That doesn’t sound good!
glad it all fit together in the end and luckily your mom could help –
so glad you made it there and back safely! And yay for catching up with good friends, and for a wonderful mom who drove you there!
I am happy to know you managed to see your friend. These things matter inlife.
They really do! Thank you!
Liking that your post can be a reminder of a journey’s potential of becoming a maze (in which one weighs their options) and the result(s) may be amazing (or amWazeing?). Regarding your need for your Mom to drive you, on the plus side this is a sign that you are driven (or proof of your laser-focused persistence to do what you hope to accomplish).
I’m so glad you were able to see your friend. Those are such special occasions.
It was awesome! Thank you!
I am very dependent on GPS. I’d be be lost, literally, without it. I’m glad you were able to see your friend,
Me too! Thank you!
Sorry you are not feeling well. Glad you didn’t have to miss your visit. WAZE drives me crazy, too many warnings about stuff that doesn’t matter, like a car on the side of the road. Apple or Google maps work better for me, but some apps do seem to get lost in cities and take you in circles.
Other than the swim on the way there, Waze worked well for me. Next up, self driving car.
That’s what Mums are for!
Sounds like everyone had a good day. You and your friend got to catch up in person, your mother had a good time exploring and the dogs got their walk. Winners all round.
My wife relies heavily on a Satnav on her phone to go anywhere. I stil use a map book.
Best wishes, Pete.
I could never make sense of maps, for some reason.
Neither can my wife. 🙂
I was going to start with a “darn” when your symptoms flared up. You worked around it fantastically!
I must be behind the times because I’ve never heard of Waze until now.
There are a lot of options, Waze is the one my mom trusts.
I love your writing. You have a way with telling a story of a stressful situation and making it entertaining to read. I’m glad you got to see your friend.
Thank you so much!
I’m glad your mom could help and that you did get to see this friend. I have to wonder if maybe this was all part of a plan, because it got your mom out of the house and outside to enjoy some scenery other than the walls of home. It also now counts as a memory of an adventure you and your mom shared!
To quote Shakespeare, all’s well that ends well. I do hope you realize and also believe that you’re not being able to drive that day was not your fault. And I must add, you have a fantastic Mom!
I have the most fantastic mom ever!!!!!
So this was a tale of triumph over adversity! That’s very refreshing. Good for you, your friend, and your dear mom.
I hate driving so always use Waze to navigate when I have to drive-I love that it alerts me to speed limits, traffic slowdowns, debris on the road, police presence, etc. I believe those ‘smiley faces’ are other Waze users…because everyone knows “misery loves company, especially on jam packed roads.” 😊 Safe travels. Glad you were able to spend some time with your friend and blessings to your mom for getting you there and back safely.
The smiley faces are real people?! That’s awesome!
Yes, they are the users on the road at that moment.
Geez, was the flare up maybe caused by the anticipation of seeing an old friend ?
I hope not!
Yeah that would blow, but hey if all went off without a hitch… probably not
The last time we relied on the device for directions we found ourselves so far off course I said we must be to New York.(not our intention.) Sure enough around the corner a large sign said “Welcome to New York.” I have never gone since without a physical map in the car. Fortunately in Connecticut once you get to another state you know which direction you need to go next. Sorry that you are feeling rotten. Perhaps with so much long Covid people will begin to be more aware of conditions such as yours not caused by Covid and thus more sympathetic. We can hope.
That would be awesome!
This is so funny, Rachel. I’ve been doing something called “DoorDash” recently. In addition to gardening, I’m delivering food from restaurants to people’s homes so that they don’t have to drive. To get to their homes we have to use Google Maps. Let me tell you how much I hate Google Maps now. They have steered me wrong so many times I have to laugh. Been off by I think maybe half a mile sometimes! I’ve finally figured out that when the app says, “You have arrived” that they mean you’ve arrived within 500 feet or so! Then I have to continue searching for the address from there. But I decided recently to ignore the speaking voice at that point and look at the visual map. That usually leads me to the exact spot. Usually – but not always. But like I say, it’s been radically off to the point that I have told customers that the guy who did Google Maps that day that must have been drunk.
I’m so sorry!
No, Rachel. It’s inconvenient but not THAT bad.
Glad you had such a happy visit with your friend. And you have an outstanding Mom also!
Thank you so much!
Happy to know spend time with intimate friend.