This I Believe

Randi - Montrose, Colorado
Entered on March 9, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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I believe in getting lost. Taking a left turn, even if I know, that in the directions, I should have taken a right. How boring life would be if I always knew where I was going. How boring if I always go the same way, everyday and I was never curious, never adventurous enough to even change course for a single day.

I love getting lost. When I travel to a large city. I like taking turns here and there, looking at the architecture of buildings downtown and then getting lost in the new suburbs or the old avenues, looking at homes and wondering about the families who live behind the closed doors or the large gates.

Sometimes I’ll park along a side street and get out of the car, put my dog on a leash and wander around these neighborhoods that are foreign to me. I’ll say hello and smile to the folks who are watering their lawns, sitting on their porches or like me, out walking their dog. These people who I’ll never see again, for a brief moment, we connect. We make eye contact and our lives are intertwined.

I believe in getting lost, in taking a chance on the unknown road and letting the car take me in a whole other direction then the one I started out on. My dog, which is always with me on these adventures has her head out the window and is happily sniffing the air and making her own acquaintance with this new world.

I could go to the chain restaurants, the outlet malls, the usual tourist destinations when I arrive in a new city, but I like getting into the middle of the hustle and bustle and then picking a quiet side street to turn down and driving until I find, the out of the way place, the neighborhood coffee house.

I’ll look at the community bulletin board, that’s almost a requirement in these kinds of places, hanging on the wall as you walk in the door. I make my way through the dozens of overlapping ads, some with dates still good and others so old it makes me wonder if the people who hung the ads ever came back to this place or just disappeared back into the routine of their everyday lives.

I’ll read about Jane who has purebred poodles for sale, or John who’s looking for a roommate to share his 2 bd, 2 bath downtown apartment with. Then there’s the local nightclub advertising open mike on Thursday nights and the small bookstore that has a poetry reading on every second Monday of the month. I smile as I read the ads, because now I have more of a feeling for this part of the city and for the clientele that come here for a cup of coffee and a muffin in the mornings.

I’ll ask the waitress when she has a free moment, while I relax sipping on my mocha latte if she knows of a good thrift store or an out of the way antique shop. I’ll ask her what parks are dog friendly. I’ll ask where she likes to take her friends or family when they come for a visit. I’ll ask her for directions to all those places and leave a tip in the jar before I head out the door.

I get in my car and look at the paper with the hand drawn map that’s in my hand and I have to smile because I know, most likely along the way to some of the places the waitress recommended I’ll have to deviate a little and take a left when I know I should have gone right…just to see where that road will take me.

I believe in getting lost, is the best way to find myself.