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October 11, 2003: Amid the corn

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Yesterday I decided that it had been far too long since my car was actually cleaned inside and out. So this morning we drove into Davis and had our customary breakfast of cornmeal waffles with pecan butter, but then passed on the regular jaunt over to the farmer's market in favor of joining the long line of cars at the car wash downtown in order to rectify the situation.

My car is now sparkly clean and dirt free inside and out. Well, mostly. While they oh-so-carefully detailed the dashboard and the windows and vacuumed all the seats and floors and mats, for some mysterious reason they left the cup holders alone, leaving behind a thin layer of grit and a few ancient coffee spills. I suppose if they had to leave anything at all it's better they left something small but still, it strikes me as odd that they didn't even vacuum them out.

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Every year around this time since I moved to the area back in college I have noticed the handmade signs along the freeway announcing the annual corn maze and pumpkin farms. And every year I drove by them and think maybe it might be interesting and then promptly forget all about it until the next time I see the sign.

So this morning, on our way home from waffles and car washing, I spotted the sign and this time I decided I'd waited long enough to check out the corn maze. We headed down one of the back country roads for a few miles and finally tracked it down by the fact that it is surrounded by a few acres of pumpkins.

For whatever reason I had always assumed that the corn maze would be some cheesy thing for little kids. I was so very wrong! We paid our $6, they handed us a map, and it was at that point, looking at this extremely detailed map with teeny tiny paths drawn in, that I realized just how huge this thing really is.

The corn is, of course, tall enough that you cannot see over it. So you have no choice but to wander the paths and try to decipher the little markers set up at every junction to figure out where you are. It didn't take much time at all before we were both completely turned around and had lost all sense of direction and this was with one of us carefully scrutinizing the map at each turn to try to lead us out. At one point we tracked down a little wooden staircase that was tall enough to climb above the corn stalks. However that wasn't much help since only the paths nearest us were even vaguely visible, and it seemed to be there only to emphasis just how vast this cornfield really was.

We found our way out using the map but had to miss a large portion of the maze because I needed to get home (today was Painting Day at the office). I think we're definitely going to do this again though and maybe we'll try to scrounge up a few friends to bring along friends who will have just as much fun as we intend to, trying to muddle our way through this thing without using the map at all, all while working on the plot of what is sure to be the next best cheesy horror flick (because really, what better place for unspeakable evil to stalk and kill another flock of plucky teens than in a corn maze?).

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