My grandmother was great at a many of things — smelling hunger from a mile away, washing that perfect, ocean breeze scent into my laundry, and baking the softest of chocolate chip cookies — but she was not good at arriving on time.
Last Christmas, I invited grandma over to my new apartment to spend the holiday time with my girlfriend and me. She only lived ten minutes away, and insisted that she could get herself there. “Okay, okay, Grandma,” I said over the phone, “just be careful.”
I guess it was around noon when she hopped in her 1992 Honda Accord that my dad bought for her a while back, getting her out of an older clunker and into a somewhat reliable vehicle. It was reliable, yes, but versatile…I hadn’t expected.
Kayla was still wrapping presents, and I was trying my hardest to hang lights around the living room when Grandma called me about a quarter after six to ask if she was going the right way.
“Aren’t I supposed to turn right at the corner of 5th and Anchor,” she asked, confused.
“Grandma, no. You should’ve turned left. You know that road is a dead end, right? You’ll have to turn around before you get to the pier.”
“Jay, I think I’m going the wrong way. Can you GPS me?” My little innocent grandmother still hadn’t learned much about technology, and thought I could track her little flip phone with mine. “Grandma, just turn around at the pier and get back onto I-95. Then follow 95 back around to town.”
“Take I-95, Grandma!” I had to be a bit stern with her because she couldn’t seem to understand how ridiculous it is to mess up what originally was a ten-minute drive with a total of three turns.
“I don’t see I-95 anywhere. Can’t you GPS me, Jay?”
My grandmother must’ve been very lost at this point, and I was beginning to think she’d drive straight out of Maine and into Our Home, Our Native Land. “What do you see, grandma? Help me find where you are.” Any sort of landmark would help me find her, and then I’d drive out to have her follow me home.
“I’m on the Atlantic, Jay,” she said. I quickly looked for street names and backroads in my phone’s mapping app. “Grandma, there is no Atlantic highway or street name around here. What are you going on about?”
“Jay! I see a sign! Am I near your house?”
At this point, I began to feel a slight bit of relief, and hoped that maybe she somehow found her way to my apartment. “What does it say, grandma?”