Monday, February 02, 2009

I Have a Habit of Getting off the Highway in the Wrong Places...

A few years ago, three friends and I were driving home from onething Chicago, which took place south of the south border of Chicago.  If you know Chicago, you understand that this was a long way from the way, almost north of north side Chicago where we all live.

Now, we were coming home after the session, and it was dark and late.  This was also before I got a handle on directions and how to find my way places (I wasn't driving, but I was directing).  You can tell this is already going sour.

At some point we meet the moment of doom of "uh-oh...which way on the highway do we go?"  All I know is that the highway says East-West, even though it runs North-South (don't despair...navigating Chicago isn't as hard as this post makes it sound).  I know it's labeled in a confusing manner, but I don't have any clarity on which way goes which.  Great.

We guess.  That was bad.  Now that I think back, did no one have a cell phone?  Badoink.

We guessed wrong...but didn't quite know how to fix it.  Oh ya, and we're running out of gas.  So, we get off.  Badoink again.

We pull into a gas station, the driver and friend go inside to get directions, and Amy and I wait in the car.  This is scary, we are nervous.  Let's just say that these two fair-skinned Scandinavians stand out like sore thumbs.  We sit in the car (I think I prayed, if I remember right), and look scared, apparently, because a man walks by and says to me through the [closed] window: "Tell your friend not to look so nervous."  Uh, that doesn't help, sir.  Don't talk to us!!

In the end, we got gas, we got directions and we made it home safe.  At first the story was just one of those "oops" moments to tell about, but then we started getting those looks from the people we told and comments like "you seriously don't know how dangerous that was."  It was pretty bad.  There's a story about a friend of my family who, having just moved to Chicago, decided to go for a drive.  He ended up getting pulled over by a policeman who walked up to his car, said "What are you doing here?"  Upon finding out this guy is just "driving around" to check out the scenery, the policeman says "I suggest you turn around and drive back that way RIGHT NOW."

SO...onto yesterday.   Oy, don't barrage me with chiding comments.

I had to drive OJ to the airport at 4 am.  It's still dark on my way back (and I totally know my way home...don't worry).  My problem is that I wore my glasses, seeing as I kind of just wanted to roll out of bed and into the car.  Somehow I've never noticed that I don't see nearly as well with my glasses, and on the way home realized it was really hard to read the signs.  There's lots of construction around downtown KC, and there was a place where the two lanes split into two different directions.  I read the signs and realized too late as I went one way that I was supposed to be headed the other.  Panic.

I think 35 South hits a highway I could use to get home, but I'm not totally sure.  And it's ten to six.  I thought about calling someone, but I would probably wake them up, so I decided to wait to disturb Peter's sleep until I was sure I was lost.  

I saw signs for Bartle Hall (where onething was) and realized that I could probably find my way there.  Only thing was I couldn't get off at that exit because the only two other cars around me were busy passing me right at that moment, annoyed by how slow I was going in my confusion.  Argh, this story just gets worse as I tell it, no?

So, next I see signs for Union Station.  I've been around there, I think.  I'm sure I could figure it out.  So I get off.  Don't see Union Station.  And somehow the signs pointing me toward it disappear.  I recognize some streets from driving around onething, but don't know what to use them for.  There are a few cars that randomly stop in suspicious places, and a couple people walking down the street.  There was a green light I came to, but I stopped because there was a guy with a shopping cart crossing the street and I wasn't sure he was going to stop.  

At this point, I'm getting quite scared.  Where am I??  Ahh!!  Downtown KC!  Ahh!!!  (Downtown KC is pretty bad...)  I almost pull over to text a plea for help to Twitter "If anyone is awake, please call me and HELP ME GET HOME!"  Instead, I see a light (literally).  A red, flashing light to be specific.

Praise. the. Lord. for whoever decided to build the Convention Center with four huge light towers that you can see from far away.  I return to Plan A, and make my way to Bartle.  Once I'm there, though, I still can't figure out where to go, so I pull into the Marriott (where tons of the onething staff stayed during the conference) and run in and ask the security guys at the desk "Hi, um...[nervous smile] I need help.  Can you help me find 71 South?"  They give me directions (thank you, thank you, kind, safe, cheerful Marriott security guys!).  I find it and am on my way home safely, still thinking about how scary that was and who I could have called.  I realize I know one person who is always up that early on Sunday morning, but I don't have their number, so it wouldn't have helped.  When I got home and told Suz she chided me: "ahh!  Don't EVER get off the highway in the dark!"

Oh, the stories.  How do I get myself into these messes?  Praise the Lord for always getting me out.


Anonymous said...

Yeah there is one split on the way home from the airport that you don't want to get wrong! I've done it twice... once with my mom and once with a friend. Alone would be scary!

meg said...

Anna. . . i'm trying to figure out if i know you!?!?

meg said...

YES!!! The Lord has used IHOP in amazing ways in my life. Do you work there?

Amy Rachel Peterson said...

Darling, darling. (Shaking of the head is going on over here.) First of all -- if you're ever in a tight spot, DON'T LOOK NERVOUS. That guy gave you good advice. Just move and talk as if you are totally confident, and bad guys will be far less inclined toward any sort of thievery. (I don't mean to look naive and happy -- look knowledgeable and confident.)

Second -- Suz is right! Don't get off the highway and drive around strange streets in the dark!

Third -- I think the Marriott should give you a prize for good advertising. I'll definitely keep those "kind, safe, cheerful" security guys in mind for the next time I may need directions :)

Love or Nothing said...

this totally sounds like something i would be involved in haha i hate directions! but i love GPS. :)