I was impatient.
I had to drive 400kms. And I wanted to get in early to watch a friend’s movie which has just recently opened.
So I wanted to leave.
But Jennifer was sitting on the motel bed, reading a book. It was the Ascended Masters Instruction Guide, part of the Saint Germain “I AM” Discourses series.
This was the fourth time she’d read this book.
It was 9am.
The motel in Goondiwindi was empty now. Everyone else had left. We were the only ones there. The maids were stripping the sheets off the beds of the emptied rooms.
We were the only ones left.
And Jennifer was sitting on the bed, reading a book she’d read three times before.
I said to her: I’d like to go now.
She said: Give me another ten minutes.
I said, rather tetchily: Jen, I’d like to go now. I’ve got a long way to drive today, and it’s already late.
She snapped back: I said, give me ten minutes.
Jennifer never snaps. She is a calm and gentle person. Buddha-esque. To see Jennifer snap was somewhat shocking. Like the Buddha turning Linda Blair. However I can display personal characteristics that would make even Himalayan monk want to rip my face off.
It became apparent to me that no further conversation would be entered into – she wanted ten minutes – and so I went outside, started up the car to let her know that I was anxious to go, and made some phone calls to LA.
I also left the motel room door open – and as I’d backed into the parking space right outside our room, I was conscious that all those noxious fumes would be heading her way.
If I couldn’t coax her out, I would smoke her out with carbon monoxide.
I try very hard to be a good person.
We were late getting going that morning because I’d woken up at 2am to watch the World Cup Rugby semi-final – Australia beat Argentina in a very exciting game. And of course watching the game in a motel room, I’d kept Jennifer awake.
She never complained.
She never does complain, except when she wants ten minutes extra to read a book she’s read three times before.
Those of you familiar with this blog know that I require only about five hours sleep to be fully functional, while my wife requires ten hours. Anything less and she takes on Walking Dead type tendencies.
The reason she snapped, I surmised, was because she was sleep deprived. It had nothing to do with the fact that she wanted time to read her book, that she’d already read three times, and that I was being a dick.
Finally she came out to the car, coughing, and we headed off.
I was driving to Brisbane – I had a few days work at the University where I’m an Adjunct Professor. Each year I drive up to Brisbane, each year I take the same route. I drive from Mudgee to Goondiwindi, I overnight at the same motel, and I drive from Goondiwindi to Brisbane.
Something happened this time.
Here’s what happened.
As we drove away from the motel, the tension somewhat sweet and ripe in the car, we started chatting as though there had not been a contretemps a few minutes earlier. We resumed normal programming, even though there was some static in the air.
Jennifer made note of a sign to a Botanical Garden, and in my attempt at reconciliation, I looked at the sign and said:
Huh. Fancy Goondiwindi having a Botanical Garden. That’s a must-see next time.
At the same time I overtook a large semi-trailer so that I could speed off down the long straight road ahead.
And that’s what I did –
However some 30kms down the road, I came to a little settlement that I didn’t recall having gone through on previous trips. And as I kept driving I wondered whether the vegetation, and indeed the road itself, looked a little strange. A little drier, dustier, fewer trees.
It took me one hour and ten minutes, and some 130kms, to realise I’d taken the wrong road. I was heading due west, when I should have been heading due east.
I had to turn around and go back to Goondiwindi. I gunned it. Really gunned it. Because I made it back in less than an hour. You do the math, as they say in America.
So we drove back into Goondiwindi two hours after we left. Ten minutes past eleven.
- In passing the big semi-trailer, I’d missed the sign for the turn-off.
- In my hubris, and with the static still lingering, I had ignored my unease that I had driven through a settlement that I’d not recalled on previous trips.
- In my hubris, and with the static still lingering, I had ignored all the signals that I was on the wrong road – like the drier country, the fewer trees etc.
- I had not followed my Garmin guidance. Even though it had kept directing me another way, I thought I knew better.
- Because of the little dust-up with Jennifer, I had shut down all my sensory input and over-rode it all.
- The Universe bitch-slapped me.
Yes, ultimately that’s what happened. I’d been impatient. So impatient I hadn’t wanted to let Jennifer have ten minutes to read a mystical and esoteric book that was very important to her.
I had put my needs ahead of hers.
And so the Universe sent me into the Outback for an hour, in completely the wrong direction, along a route I should have know, and slapped me for being a naughty boy.
I’ve learned my lesson.
And I should have followed my guidance, both inner and outer.