Driving Miss Snidesky

Snidesky checks her printed driving directions at a stop. Photo courtesy of E Whiteside

Snidesky checks her printed driving directions at a stop. Photo courtesy of E Whiteside

Took my biggest crew ever to summer yearbook workshop this week – nine.

To an area of Oklahoma City I am unfamiliar with.

Let me confess a little background information about myself: I’m not a confident driver. That doesn’t mean I’m not a good driver. I just dislike going into areas where I am unfamiliar with the territory. Put me in the midst of overlapping highways with Expressways and Turnpikes that change names when you veer left or right and the fear of taking the wrong exit or, worse, not taking the right exit, just gives me a bit of anxiety – especially when I’m in charge of kiddos and need to be somewhere fairly on time. Fortunately for me, my students don’t possess the same type of anxiety, and for some reason, have enough faith in me to get us where we are going.

Double-fortunately for me, the student sitting directly behind me, my upcoming business manager (organizational, calm-under-pressure skills) had my back, loves driving in The City and knew the area. She was as good as a GPS – with a calm voice.

Triple-fortunately for me, my driving buddy and co-adult, who had planned to just follow me, has a great sense of humor and a high tolerance for my misadventures. She tailed me as I changed lanes, whether because I don’t like to be behind big trucks I can’t see around or because I was getting mixed signals from the kids about where I needed to be for the upcoming split in the highway or which direction we needed to go off the exit. Shotgun is supposed to be the navigator and direct me from my printed map and directions, but hey, how many yearbook students does it take to interpret Snidesky’s directions amid actual highway signs?

Thank you, cars in the right-turn lane to Northwest Expressway off Lake Hefner Parkway, for letting two well-marked white Suburbans crowd into your lane Monday afternoon. You didn’t look particularly happy about it, but we appreciate it.

Tuesday morning, we were off for a new adventure – that of getting 2.6 miles from the hotel to Oklahoma City University campus to get our workshop on. I didn’t even need to print that map – had it right up here *taps temple with index finger.

Well, okay, I somehow missed getting back on that expressway, but no fear – I’d been looking at the maps of the area and I knew where we needed to be. We’d just find a good through street to take us to campus. Well, I kept driving, finally deciding to take the one that would feed us directly into campus.

How was I supposed to know it would first lead us into a residential area before it went to campus? Let alone one with curvy streets and dead ends. And there was that garbage truck I waited a bit to go around. Looking at the bright side, those were some nice houses to look at. Kids claimed they wanted to go back and look again. Those are some good kids.

Still, I knew where I was. I just couldn’t figure how to get where I wanted to be. So we maneuvered through a few more streets until we got back onto a main one that would lead to campus. And there, constantly in my rearview, were our traveling companions. I wondered more than once about the conversations in that vehicle.

When we arrived at our destination – still on time and even the first school represented – it was not lost on me that the working theme the kids had come up with for the year has something to do with …

… wait for it …

… something about journeys.

Should be a great story on the yearbook page.

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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