Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Ph.D. from an ivy league university doesn’t get you what it used to

During The Husband’s second year of grad school, his parents moved, but they moved into his grandmother’s house which they had bought. So on our first trip home to the new house, the house wasn’t really “new” to The Husband. I had never been there, so he was driving and when we got to the Mass Pike, he told me, “It’s Exit 11, the first exit after the exit for Route 20.” We were heading east on the Pike, and got off the Pike at the first exit after the exit for Route 20. As we navigated the twisting off ramp, The Husband looked around and said, “Where the hell are we?”

“What? What do you mean?” I said. “Don’t you know?”

“I’ve never been here before in my life,” replied The Husband. “Oh, wait! I think they were going to add an exit to the Pike. They must have finished it.” But the problem was that he didn’t know if they added it before or after our exit, so we weren’t sure if we had missed our exit or had not yet reached it.

Now, one might think that we would be able to deduce which it was, but although we knew we had accidentally gotten off at Exit 10A and that we were looking for Exit 11, we did not know if the exits on the Mass Pike increased from east to west or from west to east. I couldn’t check the map because it was dark and I get sick pretty much the instant I try to read in the car. That and because we were running out of time; The Husband had already turned the car around, and there were only about a hundred yards between us and the choice of east or west.

I called The Husband’s parents' house, and Father-In-Law answered the phone. “Which way do the exits increase on the Mass Pike?” I asked.

“Well, now, where are you?” he replied.

The toll booth was rapidly approaching. “We’re getting on the Pike right now,” I said. “Which way do the exits get bigger?”

“Did you get off at Route 20?” he asked me.

We were the next car in line to pay the toll. “No, we accidentally got off at the new exit, and we’re getting back on, and we don’t know if we should go east or west to get to Exit 11. Can you just tell me which way the exits get bigger?”

“Well, now, that new exit connects up to Route 20. You could just take that,” said Father-In-Law.

“No, it’s too late!” I said, with rising panic. The Husband was paying the toll and asking me which on-ramp to choose. “We’re already getting back on the Pike, and we have to choose east or west! Which way do the exits go?”

“Route 20 will take you right to Grafton St.,” he said.

We were 10 feet from the point of no return, and The Husband was looking to me for a decision. I love my Father-In-Law, but in this particular instance…

“WHICH WAY DO THE EXITS GO ON THE MASS PIKE!” I shouted.

“You say you got off at 10A?” asked Father-In-Law.

“Augh!” I cried. The Husband looked at me, eyebrows raised. “I don’t know. Go east!” I told him.

“So if you want to get back on the Pike,” Father-In-Law was saying in my ear.

I got back on the phone with him. “It’s too late,” I told him. “We had to choose. We’re going east.” Luckily, east was the right decision, and we got home about fifteen minutes later.

When I told my family this story my father started laughing. Not at my father-in-law, but at me. “You’re getting a Ph.D. from an ivy league university, and you don’t know which way the exits go on the Mass Pike?”

I told him I missed that class.

3 comments:

EditorKit said...

I'm trying to think if a clever way to say this, but not having any success, so you'll have to take un-clever--did you think to ask the person in the tollbooth or to look at the card?

Mo said...

We actually had EZ pass by then, but I used the tollbooth to set the pacing. (I know I already emailed you a reply, but I wanted to clear this up so the other 4 regular blog readers would not think that The Husband and I are complete idiots.)

EditorKit said...

Hmmm. That ship may have sailed already...