The first rule of Jed driving solo is: Jed can navigate, or he can drive. He can't do both at once. Therefore, Jed should always expect the first solo drive to a new location to take much longer than it looks like it ought to take.
Sadly, Jed often forgets this rule.
Here's what happened:
I have a cable at home that can connnect my iPod to a stereo or other system with an auxiliary input. I didn't pack it, because I wasn't expecting to need it. I was going to take my little mini portable iPod speakers along so I could listen to the iPod while driving.
Sadly, I couldn't find the speakers. A few days ago, I came across them, and cleverly put them in the one place where I would be absolutely certain to find them as I prepared to go on a trip. I chortled to myself over what a clever place I had found for them, and wondered why I had never thought of putting them there before. I even thought to myself that normally putting something in a clever place means never finding it again, but that this time I had found a really good obvious clever place for them.
Needless to say, fifteen minutes of searching while I was packing did not turn them up.
So I brought some CDs and figured I would make do. But last night I discovered that the car I'd rented had an auxiliary input! So if only I had the mini-to-mini cable, I could connect my iPod to the car stereo. But I didn't have that cable, 'cause I'd left it behind in favor of the speakers, which I then couldn't find.
But I had a clever thought: I got the cable at a Radio Shack. I'll find a Radio Shack near here and buy another one.
Working out directions to the Radio Shack took long enough this morning that I left for my grandmother's party about ten minutes later than intended. Even so, the Radio Shack was literally on the way to my uncle's place, so I figured I would stop and pick up the cable and it wouldn't add more than ten minutes to my trip.
After ten minutes of driving around the crowded mall parking lot in the rain, I called Directory Assistance (I love cell phones) and got the Radio Shack's number, and called them, and found out I was in the wrong mall.
When I got to the right mall, I discovered that it was huge. I spent ten minutes driving around in the rain looking for the Radio Shack, and finally just gave up and went on to the party. (Or rather, tried to go on to the party; I immediately took a wrong turn (at the corner of Newport Way NW and Newport Way NW, I took the wrong Newport Way NW) and spent several minutes recovering from that. Still, I was only half an hour late to the party, which for me is practically on time.)
This evening, Uncle Paul made me a minimal partial map of the mall. (We actually drove past it before 8 pm on the way back to his place after dropping Grandma off, but we were talking about Important Stuff so I didn't want to interrupt.) So I stopped by on my way back to the hotel, around 9:30, even though I was pretty sure the Radio Shack would be closed.
And it turns out (this is the best part) that I actually drove past the Radio Shack earlier, about one minute before I gave up on trying to find it. It's tiny, and it's right past a much bigger store with an awning that sticks out in front. When I'd driven through the first time, I had seen the bigger store to my right, then glanced away to the left looking for pedestrians and such, and by the time I looked back to my right I had passed the Radio Shack without seeing it.
And yes, by the time I got back to it tonight it was closed; it had closed at 8.
And it doesn't reopen in the morning until after I'm planning to be at Debby & John's.
So I'm taking this as a sign from the Universe that I'm not supposed to listen to my iPod in the car this trip. Not such a big deal. I've got the radio, and I've got CDs, and at least it's better than the time I drove from Portland to Seattle (or maybe vice versa) in a rented car that seemed to have only AM radio, and it wasn't until I reached my destination that I discovered the FM/AM switch, which was hidden underneath another dial in such a way that I couldn't see it while driving.
But it does remind me yet again that I can't navigate and drive at the same time.
Oh, and the party went well, and I had a great long talk with Paul afterward.