I did not get much done this week. Hats off to anybody who did.
I rode my horse a couple times (slowly). I finished a draft of a Christmas novella, and I impressed my cats with my profound (and imaginary) wisdom as a constitutional scholar, and with my facility for fricative foul language (and alliteration).
Other than that… low rpms. And I realize that part of what took so much wind from my sails is that I have not bounced back from the pandemic, still, yet, some more. Skills I took for granted a few years ago faded during The Big Stay Home. One of those skills is ignoring the news, and just getting on with the next task. Oh, well.
I also once upon a time excelled at road-tripping. I’ve probably crossed the USA twenty times, and driven all the major east-west routes. Now, I’m out of the habit of driving long distances. To compound my new-found timidity, my previous road trips were mostly made in a nice, big (gas guzzling) Tundra pickup.
I loved my Tundra. I felt SAFE in my Tundra, and I had great visibility in my Tundra. Who needs sat-nav when you have a Tundra? Nah me!
Road-tripping in my twelve-year old Prius is admittedly a different experience than it was in the dear old (now morally untenable) Tundra. But more than that, I’m simply out of practice dealing with four-lane traffic, high speed merges, and unfamiliar terrain. My road warrior skills, which were formidable, have atrophied.
I want those skills back. I derived too much benefit from cross-country romps to allow that activity to slip from my list of recreations. I learned history, I developed story ideas, I enjoyed the scenery. I got a real break from the routine without getting into an airplane.
So this week, I took a little step toward rebuilding my long haul skills. I drove over to suburban Philly to see some family visiting in that area. I did this drive in baby steps. By that I mean, I stuck to scenic byways, better known as paved farm lanes. I did a carefully constructed (using paper maps, thank you very much) lily-pad route, county by county, that avoided I-95, and I drove only in daylight.
I made three wrong turns, but recovering from wrong turns is one of the skills a road warrior must have, especially if she thinks sat-nav is for sissies (or people who can stand that thing yammering at them while they are trying to drive).
And from this baby step, I take consolation. If I can manage to putter for hours along a cow path and only make a few wrong turns, then some fine day I might once again go barreling across Western Kansas with the Duke of My Next Story riding beside me. That is a cheering thought.
Have you ever had to reclaim a lapsed skill? How did you go about it? Are there any you’d like to brush up now?