by Michael Boyink / firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s what Mr. Ferguson – our GPS – would say when I didn’t follow his route.
I’m convinced that the Garmin programmers added nuance to that word. I always heard it along with just a hint of disapproval.
Like Ferguson really wanted to say “You couldn’t just turn when I told you to? Fine. (Heavy breath through the nose, eye roll.) Recalculating.”
We were headed to a state park on the coast of South Carolina. Between us and our campsite for the night was the town of Beaufort.
It was dark.
We were running late.
And I had turned too early.
Mr. Ferguson sulked off to create a new route.
But we weren’t paying attention to the GPS.
We were looking at road closed barriers. And backed-up traffic. And crowds of people milling about.
Parents pushing kids in strollers. Couples holding hands. Groups of friends. All in stocking hats, winter coats, and scarves.
We’d been on the road all day. It took our tired brains a few minutes to realize what was going on.
It was mid-December. Those were holiday decorations.
This was Beaufort’s Christmas Parade.
Mr. Ferguson’s screen flashed. His new route showed a left turn at the next intersection.
Onto the parade route.
I got out to see if we had any options for turning around.
Cars lined both sides of the street. Late parade-goers trickled in behind us. There was an alleyway on one side of the street, but it was narrow and its entry was surrounded by parked cars. I didn’t see the space I needed.
We were stuck. In the middle of the street.
I got back in the truck, set the parking brake, and shut off the engine.
Humans are funny creatures. We talk a lot about plans. Career plans. Marriage plans. Family plans. Travel plans.
All based on the arrogant belief that we can both account for and control all the variables necessary to determine the outcome of a complex sequence of events.
The great pugilistic philosopher Mike Tyson put it this way; “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
We can’t always be in total control of every plan. What we can control is our reaction when the plan fails.
MsBoyink volunteered to stay with the truck & RV in case some city official was unhappy with our mid-street parking spot.
The kids and I got out and walked to the closed-off street. We mingled with the holiday crowd. We toured an open art gallery. We watched the parade until Santa passed, then walked back to the truck.
A policeman slid the barriers aside and we followed Mr. Ferguson’s directions out of town and to the state park.
It was now after-hours. The gate was locked. We hadn’t called ahead – because we had planned to be there earlier.
We resigned ourselves to spending the night on the road in front of the gates, then
headlights appeared behind us.
Another camper, returning late. He had the gate code. We convinced him to let us in as well. We found a campsite in the dark, plugged in, put the jacks down, and fell into bed.
Not the day we had planned.
But a day we remember more than many.
Because we recalculated.
Beaufort, SC has been used as a location for many well-known films including Forrest Gump, The Big Chill, and The Great Santini. Learn more about Beaufort at beaufortsc.org.