Our Sunday timetable had collapsed under the strain.
I’ve lived in G-town for eighteen years now, but apparently this isn’t long enough for me to know my way around. Whenever we go out for a drive, Tracey always feels obliged to point me in the right direction. She’s lived here for 35 years and knows every back road.
“Go left here, you’ll save heaps of time,” is the sort of thing she’ll tell me at any given intersection. Everything is quicker if you go left.
With half an hour before we were due to be at a friends’ place, we still had to pick Master8 up from a play date and buy something snacky to take out with us.
“I’ll duck in and grab the stuff for the platter,” Tracey told me as she jumped out of the car at the supermarket. “You go get Josh and then come back and pick me up.”
I usually just go along with whatever Tracey decides, but I did the math in my head and came up with a different answer.
“It’ll be quicker if I wait for you and we both go get him and drive out from there,” I said.
Tracey wasn’t convinced. “I’ll be fifteen minutes.”
“You’ll be ten. Tops. And even at fifteen, it’ll be quicker to wait here.”
Ten minutes later (Tracey would tell you fifteen) we were heading over to pick up Master8.
You can drive from one end of Gympie to the other in a little over ten minutes, even with stop lights. It’s just not that big. It’s about the size of a decently populated suburb in Brisbane or Sydney or any other major city. Only in G-town you could take three wrong turns and still not get lost.
You could. But not me.
“Where are you going?” Tracey wanted to know. The supermarket was still visible in my mirror.
“What do you mean? To get Josh.”
Tracey pointed behind us. “You missed the turn.”
“No, I didn’t.”
Tracey made a show of looking at the passing streets and houses. She shook her head and looked at me doubtfully.
“You do remember where we left him, don’t you?”
This went on for the next couple of minutes. As I continued to refuse her left hand turn suggestions, despite Tracey making very expressive finger jabs at certain streets, I stubbornly stuck to the main roads.
“I think you’re missing the whole point,” I told her. “I’m driving, so I get to say which way we’re going.”
“But you’re doing it wrong!”
Eventually she gave up, threw her hands in the air and chuckled.
“Well, now I see why it would have taken longer for you to go get him,” she told me.
Shortly there was great big sigh and Tracey slumped back into her seat. She’d had an epiphany.
“Ahhhh,” she said theatrically. “Now I understand. It’s a geometry thing. You circumnavigate the place like you’re globetrotting: you go around the outside of the circle instead of through the middle.” She was using her hands now to explain her theory. “Have you heard of a diameter? Primary school stuff, but really useful.”
We picked up Master8 and headed out of town. I generously estimated we were up by five minutes, even with my ever so slightly longer route.
Tracey was still shaking her head and lovingly mocking my earlier refusal to take on board her superior knowledge of the streets of G-town, but I was right now: there was only one road out, only one turn to make and, of all the people in the car, only one person had driven it before. Me.
I was feeling pretty smug.
Which was when Tracey’s little GPS protege in the back seat spoke up. Master8 had been looking out his window at landmarks from our last trip and had just become concerned.
“Is this really the way?” he wanted to know.
“Apparently,” grinned Tracey. “Although I’d have taken that last left.”
So bugger me if she isn’t right – eighteen years still isn’t enough time for me to know my way around this rabbit warren of a town.
Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his:
’BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page
’raising a family on little more than laughs’