Tuesday, January 10, 2012

From 2002: The Adventures of a Cross Stitched Driver

A few weeks ago I went away on a retreat.

I know, this can give images of people sitting around with their legs crossed and going “Ohm” over and over. Or having breakdowns in front of total strangers over the fact that they didn’t get the bike they wanted when they were six. Or going into hypnotic states and talking about past lives when they were Cleopatra and Attila the Hun.

My retreat was none of this. It was a stitching retreat. A full weekend of doing needlework and chatting with other women who like to do needlework. No children, no husbands, no workouts or diets, no housework, TV or computers.

Now I know, some of you have your eyes glazed over and are going “that sounds as exciting as watching the snail Olympics.”

For others of you, just the idea of getting away from husbands and children would be enough to send you into glorious fits of ecstacy similar to the feelings you get when you finally give yourself permission to have a D.Q Pecan Mudslide after several months of eating nothing but broccoli and cabbage soup.

It was a retreat with eight women, out in the middle of nowhere (okay, Pigeon Lake) in a house to ourselves. We were all responsible for one meal, which was already planned and bought, and clean up at the end of the weekend.

I started out happily on my journey. My car loaded up with needlework and snacks. My computer would not download the map that was sent to me, but someone said it was not hard to find, just follow the road signs, and it was at Pigeon Lake so how hard could it be?

I have no sense of direction. And when it comes to asking for directions, I am a man. I admit it. I will not ask for directions. Never say lost, because all roads lead to somewhere, and never ask for directions because I’ll never be able to follow them anyway. Several hours later, still driving around in the middle of nowhere, I finally realized that the roads I was on led to nowhere. I was lost. Completely and utterly lost. Never get out of here lost. I would be found one day, withered away from starvation (and it would take a long time to wither me away) my hands clutched to an empty snickers wrapper, and frozen from the cold.

Fortunately I had my cell.

And more fortunately my friends called me. Good thing too, because I didn’t have their number. After several attempts to get me going the right way, my friends decided that a rescue mission was in order. So they put on their black clothes with stocking caps, grabbed an emergency bag (for stitchers this would have embroidery floss, a needle, a piece of lovely fabric and a chart) and set out in an unmarked van.

This experience has taught me two things: one, it is a good idea to keep the cell phone recharged, and two, in spite of what everyone says about cell phones and driving, I don’t want to make it illegal, because it was a great comfort being able to drive around with the phone up to my ear as someone was talking to me If it becomes illegal how else are people supposed to find their way? I can just see hordes of drivers meandering all over desperately searching for a familiar sign.

“Okay, we’re coming up to a blinking red stop sign.” I hear in the phone.
“I’m near a blinking red stop sign!” I replied as I flashed my lights. “Is that you that just passed me by?”
“We’re turning around.” With joy I watched a van turn around and drive by me. I followed, relieved to finally be rescued. But just as I was going merrily on my way a woman stepped in front of my car and flagged me down.

She asked me for directions.

Which I might have given to her (“go home before you get sucked into an eternal black hole and never be heard from again”} if I hadn’t been so worried about losing my rescuers.

It occurred to me as I followed the van through twists and turns and several wrong directionless moves, that I hadn’t actually seen who was in the van, and I might be following a mass murderer.

Especially when a sign appeared that said “cemetery” with a direction arrow, and they turned TOWARDS the cemetery.

I had a great weekend. Good food, good friends, and good stitching. Better than the snail Olympics. If anyone wants to stitch with me, give me a shout. I’ll be sure to bring my cell and oh yeah, a map.


Stephanie Humphreys said...

I've always wanted to go on a stitching retreat, but I would probably get lost too. :)