Stella Dixon’s take on romance at the shore – where the odds are good, but goods are seriously odd.
A few years ago, I visited Australia. I expected to fall in love with scuba diving; I did not expect to fall in love with an Aussie named Brad. For five months, he showed me around Down Under. He loved hearing about America, and I loved hearing his accent. Eventually, I had to head home and Brad, a perpetual backpacker, took off as well. Like many trans-continental relationships, ours fizzled.
Last week, Brad called to say he’d booked a flight to the States. I didn’t think twice about blowing off an important grad school presentation to meet my long-lost crush at his Atlantic City bus stop. Brad climbed into my Jeep looking as handsome as ever. I told him about life in Cape May County, and he told me about his current job driving a European tour bus. Brad was a seasoned traveler by now; he’d found his way around every continent in the time we’d been apart. I’d barely ventured north of Sea Isle.
I got so lost in Brad’s exciting travel stories that it took a while to realize I was, actually, lost. I missed every Garden State Parkway entrance. After driving 45 minutes, we still weren’t close to Cape May. We found ourselves, instead, at the May’s Landing Mall.
“You have got to be kidding,” I said, embarrassed.
“Are we lost?” Brad asked.
“No,” I lied. “I took a bit of a detour because, well, I thought that you should see…the mall.”
“The mall?” Brad asked.
“It has… historical, um, significance.”
For the rest of Brad’s visit, I consistently got lost in my own town. I drove in circles before finally reaching the Cape May lighthouse. I spent an hour looking for the snow leopards at the Cape May County Zoo. Brad, who knows the best airline, bus, or tuk-tuk route to take in nearly 50 different countries, laughed it off, but I knew I’d ruined any chance at romance between us.
After days of fumbling, it was time to take Brad to his bus out of town in Philadelphia. In the city, I got turned around yet again. Somehow, despite his directionally-challenged tour guide, Brad got us to the right corner of the city with time to spare.
My friends cringe when I tell them about my series of MapQuest mishaps. But I know that Brad, who’s currently en route to a river rafting tour of the Amazon, is too much on-the-go to be the guy for me. When that guy does come along, I know he’ll be worth getting lost over. When it comes to matters of the heart, there’s no such thing as a GPS.