We have a long-standing tradition, in this family, of driving aimlessly around a new town, state, or area and “gettin’ a feel for the place”. Now that we (and by “we”, I mean everyone who was ever in the car with us) are adults, of course, we call that phrase out for what it truly is. It’s another version of “We’re lost.”. But, since we resided with Captain Ahab, let’s just say that implying that we might possibly be lost wasn’t an option.
Driving around a new place as an adult, with children of my own, I now understand the wisdom in using that phrase. It seems brilliant really. Little voices piping up from the back 40 of the car to declare that surely we’re “really really close, soon”, make using that phrase seem even more wise. Especially when we potentially have another four hours to go because we don’t know where in the blue blazes we are. And while I don’t condone lying to children, this certainly seems more in line with giving them what they can handle. As opposed to say, declaring that, “No Sweetchildren, we are LOST! So inconceivably lost that we may not make it to where we are going until AFTER Christmas. And you know what that means Sweetchildren, don’t you? NO PRESENTS!”. Just sayin’. It seems a tad kinder to just say, “We’re gettin’ a feel for the place.”. Don’t ya think?
And, I’ll have you know that we’ve taken to using this phrase whenever we find ourselves in a new or difficult-to-navigate situation. Take, for instance, the times we are stuck in an airport for a delayed take-off. This, friends, is NOT a fun way to kill a few hours when you have a cranky preschooler and an antsy eight year old. However, by employing this simple phrase, we turn the whole ordeal into an adventure! Or, take the times we are headed to see an old friend at a new house and our 20 minute drive turns into an hour-long trauma, sans emergency snacks, because I thought we’d only be in the car for 20 minutes – all of a sudden, pointing out new trees and cool sounding roads as we “get a feel for the place” takes the edge off.
Pretty stinkin’ brilliant Captain Ahab… Once again, you’ve shown us how to stave off the mutiny for a while longer. And we shall. Yes indeedy!