It was one of those mornings that started out early, until we were late. We were supposed to be there by 10, but after snacks were packed and shoes were on and keys were found, it was already ten til.
And then, on the way there, I thought I got lost, only to realize I wasn't. It was that kind of day, too. Finally, we pulled into Griffith Park, which is where I made a succession of bad choices that ended us off actually lost, as well as actually late.
"Why are you lost, Mama?" Arlo asked me from the backseat. If I could convince him of one thing, it would probably be to never ever ask me WHY I'm lost (I'm lost often), because there's no good answer to that question, really, other than, "because I'm stupid," and I really wasn't at that point yet.
So: "Because they made the park confusing," I told him (Dear Architects of Griffith Park, Sorry. Your park is really confusing, though). "Now be very quiet so I can figure this out, otherwise we'll have to live in the park our whole lives and hide from coyotes, and eat only acorns and berries until we find our way to the yummy scone place."
Eventually we made it, and we found M. and I., and we ate picnic lunches on the tracks like a group of depression-era moms and babes with organic fruit and pre-school made challah. We walked on some old train cars, we waited in some trying lines (when Daniel Tiger's waiting ditty failed, we sang Tom Petty), we rode on the steamer, and that pretty much was that. Back to home.
And really, within 100 feet of the entrance, there I was: lost again. Seriously. The 134 seemed wrong, so I got on the 101, but figured I chose wrong (given that the choices were Ventura or Los Angeles, and I chose Ventura). I couldn't manage the maps on my phone on the freeway, and then my dad called, adding chaos, so I took the next exit and parked on Riverside at Coldwater (sounds idyllic if you've never been there, doesn't it?), and called my dad back.
"I'm list in The Valley!" I said when he picked up. "Help me!"
"What size jacket does Arlo wear?" He asked.
"3T. Dad! Seriously, I'm lost. Where are you?"
"Solvang," he laughed. "I'm going to buy Arlo a jacket." And then, I swear, he hung up. Like the things he said made any sense together, like he hadn't heard me at all.
A minute later, he called back.
"6T?" He asked.
"No dad, 3T, and seriously I'm lost. Help me." I told him where I was.
"That's easy," he said. "Get back on Coldwater, take the 101 to the 405." And then he hung up again, safe in his asumption that I knew which direction of the 101 would take me to the 405.
I called back.
"NORTH!" He said.
When I got back to the Freeway entrance, I looked up. 101 freeway, the sign said. East/West. I shit you not.
I put my head on the steering wheel.
"Why are you lost, Mama?" Arlo asked.
I don't even know which direction I chose , but I know that we quickly came to the 405 exchange and even I know the right answer between Santa Monica and Sacramento.
"Thank God!" I said, out loud. "I got us out of The Valley!" I told Arlo.
"Is being lost in The Valley worse than being lost in the Park and eating Acorns?" Arlo asked.
"So. Much. Worse." I told him.
He looked out the window, and promptly fell asleep.
Freeway roll call: 10, 110, 134, 101, 405, 90.