Thursday, July 22, 2010

When It Pays To Be Lost

Left-handed people are lousy with directions. I'm left-handed, so I know. I get lost all the time.

Take today, for instance. I'm still down here with the nuclear family along the shore of the mighty Chesapeake Bay.

In some places the bay has beaches, but not everywhere. Much of its shoreline is rip-rap, some of the rest is eroding bluffs, and then there are the piers, and boat launches, and slips, and marinas, and over-built waterfront properties.

The place we stay has a swimming pier, but you have to climb down a ladder into the murky depths -- in which hide jellyfish just waiting for human flesh to sting.

Ever so much better to go to a beach.

There is a very small public beach in the area. Trouble is, it's hard to find. Once I tried for two hours to find it, unsuccessfully. Today (the temperature hovering around 95), Heir, Spare and I set out in search of the beach again.

This time I had directions from a townie at the pub. Take the right side at the Y, follow the road to the end, turn left, then you'll see a little lane that looks like a private road. The beach is at the end of that road.

Off we went in my little economy car with the helpful New Jersey license plates. Round and round we drove in the tiny community of Claiborn, asking residents, recreational boaters -- where's the beach? Hunting for street signs, always winding up at the boat slip, ask another boater -- WHERE'S THE BEACH? Finally we found a good ol' boy getting his crab boat out. He showed us where the beach was. We were one little spit of land to the left of it (ooops, I mean right). Then he said, "There are homes back there now. The owners will tell you you're trespassing if you want to use the beach. They're wrong, it's a public beach, but they have dogs and attitude."

I'm not easily cowed, so I got in the car and drove down the road, which was well-peppered with "no trespassing" and "private property" signs. And it was just as the crabber said. We could see the beach between high-end waterfront homes, but we could also see Cheney wannabes sizing us up for the kill.

This was the first time ever that I was in a situation where you can't get there from here.

But this dilemma of being lost, of driving around fruitlessly for hours... That I know. Happens all the time. As I said, I get lost easily.

So, sweaty and feeling cheated, my offspring and I came back to the B&B. And there I overheard an earnest conversation between the owner of the B&B and a kind missionary trying to drum up funds for work in Africa.

My regular readers know exactly what I think of missionaries, especially those who go meddling in Africa. And this one sounded like a pharmaceutical salesman. Apparently the B&B owner has given generously in previous times, but the mission has changed leadership, and our host is no longer digging deep. So the missionary was giving her the hard sell. Much of it had to do with handing out pamphlets and Bibles, but some of it was scarier -- like his description of the actual crucifixion that his flock somehow staged in his absence. Or some such, I was not close enough to hear much.

What I did hear was the B&B host. She said, "I just think the money should go to the Lost."

To which the missionary emphatically agreed, but with caveats about administrative budgets and travel and Bible-buying.

But it was that word "lost" that stuck in my mind. Presumably, the "Lost" are those who aren't Christians.

Well, folks, I've been lost many, many times in my life, but this is the first time when being Lost was not just a good thing, but a great thing. Tra la la! I'm Lost! Hopefully without a trace.

If missionaries want to find me, they can start looking at Claiborn Beach. It's ever so easy to find.

6 comments:

Lori F - MN said...

I guess they took 'Amazing Grace' as literal.
Missionaries. They are the ones who are causing Children to be accused of witchcraft. If missionaries had stayed out of Africa - any other belief systems - these children, and others wouldn't be endangered.

Intense Guy said...

I remember a beach at the (near) the boat ramp...and a woman with two girls playing in the sand.

Two hours? Wow.. you really must of seen every road there is out there toward Tilghman Island.

And yeah... you would be construed as lost! You ready to head home yet?

Alex Pendragon said...

LIfe IS, after all, a beach.........

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

bip...bip...
lost is a defunct tv show

Pom said...

So those that don't believe in their god are "lost" and yet missionaries spend all of their time asking the "lost" (whom they've had seemingly no problem finding) if they've found their god (Have you found Jesus?). Who's lost? Or who's on first?

Anne Johnson said...

Intense: When I'm lost, I tend to drive around and around in circles, telling myself that this time the circle will come to a different destination. So I literally spent hours just circling through Claiborn (deliberately misspelled), back to Route 33, back down to Claiborn ... as if the beach would miraculously appear.