The Best of 'Strange Thinking' with author Rodney Strange
This week I want to take a break from all the current happenings throughout our nation and just tell you about the day I got lost. I know the first thing that passed through the minds of my female readers when they read that last sentence was,
"And you're a man and wouldn't ask for directions."
You are wrong, Chicklets! I did ask...and that is the story I wish to tell.
It was a beautiful fall-like Saturday morning that I sat out on my adventure to the city. My daughter's volleyball team had a game scheduled at LCHS in Lubbock, Texas. I had glanced at the schedule hanging on the fridge several times throughout the week, and in my mind, which is not always the right mind, I knew exactly where she was playing...LCHS, a private Christian school in the center of Lubbock, right over by the K-mart. I had judged that it would take me forty minutes to get from here to there, and right on schedule that Saturday morning, I stepped out of the house at nine-fifteen. The clock on the dash of my pickup read nine-fifty five as I pulled into the parking lot. I switched the key off and stepped out onto the asphalt. That's when the eerie feeling swept over me. As I glanced around the empty parking lot, a wave of fear rushed through my body as I came to the realization I might not be at the right school. I glanced at a sign looming before me, 'Trinity Christian School' which obviously would not be LCHS. I whipped my not-so-smart ten-year-old phone from its holster and stared at the time. I had three minutes to find the right school.
Frantically I pulled out of the parking lot, and in a panic, swerved into the next parking lot I saw...a convenience store! Someone in that store would surely know where LCHS was! As I leaped from my vehicle, a postal worker exited the store. As hurried as I was at the moment, I immediately noticed she was unlike any postal worker I had ever seen. A long and lean little filly, her blonde hair in a french braid, her official USPS issued shirt unbuttoned one button too many, and shorts far too short to be officially licensed by the Post Office...she took my breath away just watching her saunter across the pavement toward her little square postal jeep.
"Excuse me, miss...um, Postal Officer!"
She paused and a broad smile spread across her face as I approached. I explained that I was lost and now sort of late to a volleyball game and could she tell me where in Lubbock, Texas LCHS was? She whipped her enormous iPhone X out from where I did not know, as her shorts could not possibly have pockets big enough to hold that thing.
"Let's just google it!" she exclaimed, drawing her body closer to mine to share her screen with me. My heartbeat picked up a notch just watching her slender fingers type on the screen.
"Um, I think it would have to be Lubbock Cooper High School. It's about fifteen minutes from here."
I protested that I really was under the impression that I was looking for a Christian school...didn't she know of one with those same initials? Yes, she replied, there was a Lubbock Christain High School, but she had no clue where it might be. I hesitantly thanked her for her help, and with one more glance of over my shoulder to eye those long, tan legs, I bounced back into my truck, briefly pondering how it could be possible a mail carrier would not know where anything was.
Thirty minutes later, I again began my fruitless search for the illusive LCHS, having wasted precious time and gas driving out to the Cooper High School only to discover that, alas, it was not the right LCHS. Perhaps it was Lubbock Coronado High School, a woman standing outside of Cooper High School had suggested. Frustrated, I had driven back to where I had begun my search. I ventured down the street a bit farther...ten miles, eventually passing a sign that read, 'Lubbock Christain University.' I held my hand to my forehead and sighed. The initials did not match up! LCU was not LCHS. Nevertheless, I pulled into the campus, all but abandoned on this fall-ish Saturday morning. I spotted a jogger on the sidewalk and rolled my window down and gave her a shout. She continued, oblivious to me, her headphones drowning out my voice. I desperately tapped my horn...and she stopped.
As she came toward my vehicle, I could see she was young, attractive, athletic, and bra-less. She stooped and stuck her head through the passenger window, her arms crossed, resting on the door. My eyes unavoidably focused on what could have been two very distinctly protruding marbles beneath her thin tank top. OMG, don't stare at those, I told myself silently, averting my eyes to...OMG, hairy armpits! Don't stare at those either! I forced my line of sight upward toward her face where I saw the most beautiful smile and the greenest green eyes staring back at me.
"Sorry to bother you, but I'm looking for LCHS?"
"Oh, it's right over there," she pointed her finger toward what appeared to be a stadium, "Just head toward those lights at the football field!"
"I did mention it was volleyball, not football?"
She giggled and spread her arms wide, armpit hairs blowing in the breeze, "Yes silly! The school sits right beside the football field."
Then she was gone. I watched her jog away, admiring her lime green Nike shorts, then turned the truck toward the lights.
Minutes later I scurried into the gym, making my way toward the rest of the parents of our volleyball team.
"Well it's about time!" several of the mothers chastised me.
"I liked to have never found this place. How much have I missed?" I questioned as I stared at my not-so-smart smartphone, which told me it was just past eleven.
"About fifteen minutes. You know these games never start on time." One of the mothers responded, "You want some advice? Ask for directions! Ask a woman! We'll never steer you wrong."
I nodded in faux agreement, my eyes focusing on my daughter on the court below. She glanced up into the stands, spotting her dad, and the faintest smile crossed her face. A huge sigh escaped from within me...I had made her game. Beyond the walls of that gymnasium, far from the city limits of Lubbock, past the boundaries of where I call home...the world may be crumbling beneath our feet. But at that exact moment, there was nothing more important than watching my daughter play volleyball.