Driving Ms. Crazy

Some days, even the simplest things get ‘way more complicated than they need to be.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, sometimes I’m convinced I’m speaking Swahili because nobody seems to grasp what I’m trying to say, no matter how many different ways I phrase it.  I’m convinced it’s the Universe’s way of keeping me humble enough to summon up some charity and patience when somebody else suffers a brain/speech malfunction.

But sometimes it’s really difficult to refrain from beating my head against the nearest hard surface…

We were going to a store that had recently moved.  I was driving, and my passenger (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) was giving me directions.  I knew we were going to 9th Avenue, but I wasn’t sure of the address.

Calgary is divided into quadrants, so there are four possible locations for any given address.  Without the suffix “SW”, “SE”, “NW”, or “NE”, you’re lost.  I was pretty sure the store was in one of the southern quadrants, but I didn’t know which one:

Me:  “What’s the address?”

Passenger:  “I don’t know the actual address, but I know where it is.”

Me:   “Okay, where is it?”

Passenger:  “On 9th Avenue.”

Me:  “I know it’s on 9th Avenue, but where?”

Passenger:  “Just take Bow Trail.”

Me:  “I know how to get to 9th Avenue, I want to know where I’m going once I’m on 9th Avenue.”

Passenger:  “I’ll tell you where to turn.”

Me:  *suspenseful pause*  “And… where will I be turning?”

Passenger:  “It’ll be a left turn.”

Me:  “Congratulations, you’ve given me no useful information whatsoever.  Where the hell is it on 9th Avenue?”

Passenger:  “Oh!  It’s at the corner of 9th Avenue and 11th Street.”

Me:  “Southwest or Southeast?”

Passenger:  *growing impatient with my obtuseness*   “No!  It’s on the northeast corner of 9th Avenue and 11th Street.”

Me:  *gritting teeth*  “The northeast corner of 9th Avenue and 11th Street Southwest or 9th Avenue and 11th Street Southeast?”

Passenger:  “Oh…!  Southwest.”

Me:  *sigh*

Before you make any assumptions about gender vs. navigation skills, I’d like to point out that my passenger was male.  Just sayin’.

I can’t imagine how the phrase “It’s on the northeast corner of 9th Avenue and 11th Street Southwest” could have become any more complicated.  What should have been a five-second exchange turned into a ridiculous “Who’s On First” comedy routine.

It might have been funnier if I hadn’t been playing the part of the straight man while trying to steer my car through traffic to an unknown destination.

But it’s okay.  I know with absolute certainty that within days of posting this, I’ll be the one in the passenger seat, obfuscating the directions while the driver’s blood pressure rockets into the danger zone.

Come to think of it, I seem to recall the following conversation not too long ago:

Hubby:  “I’m supposed to turn left here?”

Me:  “Right.”

Hubby:  “Right?  Shit!”  *swerves over two lanes of traffic*

Me:  “No, left!  I meant, that’s right… that’s correct; you’re supposed to turn left…  Never mind, I’m an idiot.”

Thanks, Universe.  I owe ya one.

Anybody else have one of those “Who’s On First” moments lately?

P.S.  I’m so pumped – my new book cover designs are finally done!  Check ’em out in the “My Books” panel at the right – or bigger versions here.  They should start hitting the stores in a week or two.  🙂

29 thoughts on “Driving Ms. Crazy

  1. hehehehe..you know I’m a little more dangerous. I sometimes get confused with my lefts and rights…so I use my hand to show which way to turn!!! Not good when one has their eyes fixed on the road in front 😛


  2. Hi, Diane. Did you follow me home from MurrMurr’s? Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. My kids used to comment. Now I am thankful if someone does. Driving in Calgary is no easy task, logical layout or otherwise. N/S is OK but E/W is impossible. And downtown is a nightmare trying to figure out 1st street and 3rd avenue or 1st avenue and 3rd street while driving in crowded traffic.
    In Ukraine street signs are pretty much non-existent or on the sides of buildings set back about 10 meters from the street. Even MEN ask directions here (or buy GPS, which I have not).
    Am sending a link to your blog to my oldest daughter to see if she has read you. After 7 years of university she swears she will never read another book on purpose where she might learn something so I hope your books are devoid of educational meaning ;-).


    • Hi, and welcome! Yes, I followed you home from Murr’s – I couldn’t resist after that ‘crack’ (sorry, had to be done) about the toilet paper.

      “Even MEN ask directions…” – LOL!

      And don’t worry, I promise your daughter won’t learn anything from my books, except maybe a few creative obscenities. Or, on second thought, maybe you should worry…


      • She says your books look awesome and they are on her list. She pumps through about 4 or 5 a week so it won’t take her long to get to them. As to expletives and creative obscenities, she likely needs some new ones.


  3. I cannot believe I am reading this.

    This is an e-mail I just sent off to a friend about a guy who lives with this friend who I hired to paint my new house. The other name is my boyfriend.

    I’ve obviously eliminated our e-mail addresses and yes I too after reading this blog changed the names to protect the INSANE.

    My Title Is “DRIVING ME CRAZY”.

    Everyone please excuse the expletives but these people have my blood boiling.

    ( Subject) Now I Am Pissed

    Thursday, July 26, 2012 3:19 AM
    From: “*********”
    To: “*********”

    You know Johnny, Rick wanted Primer and I bought him a Gallon of it. In his mind he still has to put Primer then, Flat on top of the Primer. I’m fed up with hearing about Behr Paint. Only the yellow was bad. The Blue was fine, Peach, semi-white, flat white, Pink.

    Rick seems to think the Peach I just bought for the second coat is peachier. Look the damn closet looks different because of the two top lights in the closet. The bottom looks the same as the bedroom walls. Man he’s a painter he should know that.

    And what did I tell Rick right in front of you when the both of you came to see the house for the first time. Listen to no one but me. I’m the damn boss, not Tony.

    My Blue bedroom other than the spots we had to sand because of the big drips that had dried that those kids did. The rest of those walls and room looked in my opinion perfectly fine. But Tony see’s something and tells Rick there’s three spots in his mind on the one wall that looked to him not right. Well F’, now you should see it.

    I had enough of the original Enchanting Blue ( eggshell finish ) paint to touch up what we sanded. But now he has sanded three spots that nothing was wrong with and now it looks like absolute shit and tells me I’m out of f’n paint of the original color. I got pissed at Tony and said right then and there to Rick what did I say to you when I hired you?

    You don’t listen to anybody but me.

    I met up with Rick after we left there and had an argument right there in the street. Starts saying I’m through with you. I made an ass out of him. I’m f’n fed up with everyone. I just want this house done and finished and not f’d up. I’ve spent in excess of $700+ in Paint and Rollers, Mud and now Primer.

    And all that paint is not DIFFERENT or BAD.

    I buy primer but in Rick’s opinion he still needs flat over the primer, then the color. WTF????

    He is making more work for himself. I did not tell him use this, then that, then the paint. Only the first two yellows were bad. So Tony may be buying a quart of the original Enchanting Blue for that blue bedroom. And why, Because Rick after me telling him right in front of you. You don’t listen to anybody else but me. I don’t give a f’ if Tony thought in his mind that three spots on a wall that looked perfect to me weren’t perfect to him.

    If I’m satisfied, that is all that counts. But now the one wall looks like three big blotches of shit. Rick say’s Oh I can Whiz roll it, BUT WITH WHAT? Another shade of Blue?

    You know me and Tony went out, had a peaceful evening then we got back to the house and I encounter this. Rick explaining about blue bedroom wall. I was fuming. I said there wasn’t anything wrong with this wall and there wasn’t. But now there is.

    Nobody is listening to me, this is a MAN THING.

    I Own The F’N House. I couldn’t have been any clearer when I told him from the start YOU DON’T LISTEN TO ANYBODY ELSE BUT ME.

    Rick should of told Tony, look I’m not doing anything to this wall unless I have (my Name ) permission. And I would of said There isn’t anything wrong with that wall so leave it alone.

    And after me blowing up at Tony over him over stepping his bounds when he brought his friend into my house and told him to put mud over my stress crack tape in bedrooms that there wasn’t a f’n thing wrong with ( I didn’t give a shit if I could see the tape ) without my say so. Again he pulls this with the wall. But Rick didn’t stop to think of what I had said to him flat out. I am the boss not Tony. You listen to me ONLY. This is MY HOUSE.

    So now Tony is mad at me???? I think that should be the other way around. All I know is I want this house painted and done with.

    I bought Rick against my best judgement another pack of cigarettes because he asked for them. In reality I asked if he had his phone on him because I was going to buy him minutes but he didn’t have it. But he said what I could use is the cigarettes. I mean I told him I’ll forget about the $13.00 for the two packs that Tony had bought him, I wouldn’t take that off the paint job labor. But as soon as I said that he wanted another pack of cigarettes. Well he’s got them he better smoke that damn pack slow because nobody is buying him any more. I felt like I flushed my $$$ down the toilet buying those things.

    I got him some food before I left with Tony. I told Tony before I had left where I live ask him if he needed food. So no problem there. I’d rather feed him then buy him something that isn’t good for anybody.

    It’s too bad Tony and me had to end the night on this sour note. But everybody keeps going over my head and I’m fed up.

    Like I said WTF did I buy the Primer for if Rick insists on still using what’s left of the Flat on top of the Primer. All that Behr paint isn’t garbage. He is making more work for himself and listening to somebody I specifically told him not to listen to. If I would of marked that wall, different story but I couldn’t see a thing wrong with it. Now it’s f’d up and no more paint for that shade for that room.

    I am steaming.

    Going on and on about the Behr Paint. Hey Blue went on fine, Peach went on fine. I told him to put primer all over the small bathroom. Johnny like you said he’s a perfectionist. But that’s costing a lot of time along with three coats of Primer, then Flat, Then the Paint Color.

    I figured if he had the primer and I said to you in the last email I DON’T WANT anymore Semi-Gloss and Flat used for him making his own primer. I bought PRIMER he asked for. No damn difference he’s still using the others for Primer on top of the Primer I bought.

    Told him just put Semi-Gloss on the two little spots on main bathroom to go over what he fixed and I made no big deal about main bath at all to be fixed. He say’s well I’m going to wait to do kitchen first which means he’s running low on this to. Say’s because he goes in and out of side door to smoke bugs probably got in and stuck to ceiling. That’s why I didn’t want to buy him anymore cigarettes. Too busy smoking going in and out. Shit I turned off the sensor light because he said bugs were being drawn to it. But if he wasn’t going in and out of the door to smoke, bugs wouldn’t of got in at all.

    I’m just pissed and fed up. I get him Primer he still uses the other paints I’m runing out of for the ceilings and the walls because he has to make a second primer of his own. He’s wasting his own time and my paint. All that paint wasn’t shit, just the yellow.

    Blue Bedroom looked good only needed touch up, now whole wall is ruined and say’s it may be a different shade of blue. WTF

    Tony has helped me tremendously but also has done things that have enraged me. But again how many times do I have to tell Rick to listen to only me.

    Now Tony is mad at me?

    Both of them are the same, they only see things their way. F’ the home OWNER


    You Think I Don’t Feel Crazy Right Now?

    I feel like like that animated cat with the machine gun with these crazy men. The guy I hired ( First was a kid I fired who didn’t know how to paint ) wants more in labor because he has spent a lot of extra time? Yeah wasting all my paint mixing as a primer. And fixing things my boyfriend see’s as being wrong but isn’t.

    The first guy put Semi-Gloss on the bedroom ceiling instead of Flat.

    I only closed on this house JUNE 15TH and still haven’t moved in.

    Geeeeeeeeeeeeze….I cannot think anymore.

    I bought this house from the original owner for $93,000 (She hadn’t cleaned since the house was built in 1952) so already exhausted. Then all this with the painter’s and paint and boyfriend whose house this isn’t is. By time they all get done with it, it will look like a $10,000 Bank Owned Dump.

    I don’t know whether to scream, laugh, cry or shoot!


  4. We have the left/right confusion worked out in our car journeys, but the “next” turn is still a work-in-progress. Is the next one the approaching one or the one after that? And what is the direction is said just before a turning? At least North America generally uses a grid system. Try going round the block in Europe and you’re likely to leave the country before you get back to where you started.



    • LOL! I got a taste of the perils of “going around the block” when we were in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It was nowhere near as bad as leaving the country, or even the city, but it was definitely an eye-opener for this prairie girl and her poor confused GPS.


  5. I am writing this thru the remainder of hysterical tears of laughter. As former residents of Calgary we have had this inane conversation more than once, probably on Bow Tr on the way to 9th. Ave. Conversation #2 also is very familiar. These days further confusion is caused by an accent and hearing aids. Its a wonder any communication happens at all in our car. Recently we have acquired GPS(named Jack) BUT the driver doesn’t seem to listen to Jack so we have ended up in some most interesting places. Thanks for the great laugh!


    • Hi Lesley & Nick – Good to know I’m not the only Calgarian who’s had this conversation! I like ‘Jack the GPS’ – I’m not sure what to name mine, since the things I usually call it shouldn’t be repeated in polite company.

      Nice to hear from you – thanks for visiting and commenting! 🙂


  6. Around here, people give directions assuming you’ve lived here all your life. You know, things like, “take a right where the old general store used to be and keep going past the old chicken farm….” Since I’ve only lived here about 5 years, it’s completely useless to me (thank you, Mapquest).


    • I know what you mean. In rural areas, all directions are based on the previous generation: “Take a right at the old Jones place.” The Smiths have lived there for the past twenty years, but the farm will be called “the old Jones place” until the Smiths move on. Then it’ll be “the old Smith place”…


  7. My blood pressure went up just reading this, Diane. It’s always a fun time in the car with Mr. Weebles, because he drives and I’m the navigator (although he would have much to say about my navigation skills). We have conversations like this all the time, except ours are more like this:

    Me: Turn right at the next stop light.
    Mr. W: Are you sure?
    Me: That’s what the GPS says.
    Mr. W: Are you sure it’s this NEXT right?
    Me: That’s what the GPS says.

    And so on.

    Also, love the book covers!


    • LOL! Ah yes, the GPS. Destroyer of more relationships than snoring and toilet seats combined. Ever notice how, when the GPS is wrong, it’s YOUR fault? And you end up circling helplessly, trying to escape a Gordian knot of goat paths in a trailer park, feebly muttering, “But that’s what it said…”

      But that’s never happened to me. 🙂


    • Right! Landmarks on the northeast corner. Right? I mean, um… correct?

      The worst part is that I’m also perfectly capable of thinking “west” and saying “east”… as one of my friends recently discovered when she tried to follow my directions.


  8. Most conversations with my teenager are a “Who’s On First” moment, mostly because his responses come out as grunts and mumbles, which leaves me guessing and generally conversing with myself. Oh, and by the way, if I ever go to Calgary, I think I’ll skip the rental car and take a cab. 🙂


    • Yes, Calgary’s street system is frequently praised for its logic, because the avenues run east/west, the streets run north/south, and they’re all numbered and given a quadrant designation. So theoretically, you don’t even need a map… you can just count out streets and avenues and drive right where you need to go.

      What they don’t tell you is that the streets and avenues aren’t necessarily continuous… so there are actually three instances of 90th Avenue SE that aren’t connected at all


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.