1999  Sense and Nonsense

The other evening my friend Donna related a “comedy of errors” tale concerning a recent trip to the Coast. Her journey, as were those of her two daughters who flew in from various parts of the province to join her at the Vancouver airport, was complicated by delayed flights due to weather conditions, an automobile fire, and a misunderstanding as to what was their ultimate destination. When the three gals finally got to meet at the correct hotel, Donna recalled that everyone had a good laugh.

I shuddered inwardly as Donna related her story. Our family almost never laughed at any of my foiled travel plans. Not right away, anyway… My youngest daughter has yet to giggle about how I once lost Vancouver’s Granville Street—not once, but twice on the same day.

It happened during our trip to Expo in 1986. She was eleven years of age. We had already survived a comedic “error” or two on the train ride down from Prince George, as well as a close encounter with a missed ferry on a side trip to Saltspring Island.

Prior to that excruciating mother-daughter bonding experience, she had believed her mother to be a reasonably intelligent human being and not inclined to make stupid mistakes. So much for childhood illusions. If I had ever been on a pedestal I fell off it during that trip.

It was nine a.m. when we departed from my aunt’s place in the Vancouver suburbs. In my hand I clutched a detailed set of instructions as to what buses to take to reach the Expo grounds. Number one thing to do was to get off the eastbound at the Granville St. intersection. “A piece of cake,” I thought happily and relaxed in my seat. I had noticed Granville Street on previous trips to Vancouver. It was big. It was probably the biggest street in the city.

As I have so often pointed out to my daughter, however, Granville street is really quite small where it starts out in the toolies.  It doesn’t get large and distinctive with traffic lights and other decorations until just before it enters the downtown area. How was I to recognize it when it looked exactly like all the other streets? Besides if we hadn’t ridden the bus all the way to the end of the line–in Burnaby–we might never have had the opportunity to ride the newly installed Skytrain. After we found it, that is.

The second time I lost Granville Street we were on foot and leaving the Expo grounds. We had walked upon it. Our sneakers had actually touched the cement sidewalk…and then, Presto – it was gone!

I had only left it for a few minutes to lead my daughter under a bridge and down a few side streets and alleys. I hoped to find a short cut to a bus stop instead of having to walk about a half mile to a crosswalk. I was out of luck. By the time we returned to where I thought we had been, Granville street had disappeared!

It is now thirteen years later and I believe my daughter has forgiven me for my Expo indiscretions. She now has a small daughter of her own who will soon learn the awful truth: Just when you think you can depend on them, mothers are capable of screwing up–big time!!

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