It was dark and I was on Route 3 heading home. I’ve made the trip thousands of times. Knew it like the back of my hand … or so I thought. This time, I was confused.
Was I daydreaming?
As is often the case, when I know a route well, I daydream. If you daydream too, you know it can be a gift or a curse.
For me, the curse part first manifested itself when I was in elementary school. I’d be looking out the window, imagining anything other than Social Studies or Math or English.
Teachers take offense at this. After they jar you back to reality, they’ll threaten to send a note home to your parents. Foolishly, they’ll entrust that note to a very unreliable mailman: you. But in my defense, even the most dedicated mailman would think twice about delivering your mail if he knew there was a beating in it for him.
The gift part comes in handy if you’re doing something creative. Daydreaming juices that part of the brain that conjures up sculptures or paintings or, as in my case, fiction writing.
But if you’re driving home on the highway and come out of a daydream, you may realize you’ve already passed your exit. It happens. It’s happened to me. And I don’t become overly concerned about it. I just voice the appropriate curse words and resign myself to getting off at the next exit, and looping around.
One time, however, I barely recognized my own exit. It looked weird to me. Dementia? Or was it that they just changed the damned exit number?
Thankfully, it was the latter.
For years, I knew my exit as Number 12. And when I say “years” I mean decades. Now, thanks to federal guidelines, sequential exit numbers have given way to the mileage count. My exit is apparently 27 miles from the Cape Cod Canal, and has changed from Exit 12 to Exit 27.
Talk about jarring!
Okay, I’ll get used to it. But probably not before I forget and advise someone to take Exit 12 to get to my house. According to the new system, that’ll put them 15 miles away. No small error — especially if there’s summertime Cape traffic. Fifteen miles can easily turn into an unwanted commitment of a couple of hours.
And if they do get off at the new Exit 12, they may end up in a compound with people running around in loincloths and tall hats with belt buckles on them. The Plymouth Plantation is there, and it is perpetually stuck in the year 1620. It’s replete with actors portraying Native Americans and Pilgrims.
Looking for directions from them? Better know how to speak in early-17th-century lingo. The actors will not break character to speak in anything other than that — no matter how lost you are.
So you know how you get on a favorite Web site or consult an app to check the weather, or a bank balance, or to get some bit of info on which to base a plan of action? Oftentimes you’ll find that the software has been upgraded — allegedly to be better and more user- friendly. And maybe it is, if your definition of user friendly is to waste time relearning where all the buttons have moved.
But we’ve come to expect that in the cyberverse. Do we now have to deal with that in everyday life? Like with the exit numbers.
Who’s with me when I say no more change for the sake of change?
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In Ghosts of Forgotten Empires the Cold War makes a come back when opposing agents come by metaphysical abilities. As they battle it out we realize that they’re being manipulated by an ancient off-world entity.
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