Trusting Mapquest has nearly been my undoing the past two days. Last night I trusted it to guide me to a restaurant for a dinner meeting. The directions seemed simple and straight forward enough to not raise any red flags. But, something went awry. Although I had kept to the chartered course, I had undisputable evidence by way of a street sign that the road I was promised would lead me to a prime rib dinner, was indeed not the correct path.
Where had it gone wrong? A few streets ago? A mile back? At that fork in the road? I was lost. Since I had given myself ample time to leisurely sip a drink at the restaurant, I still had some time left to back track. So, I turned around, which in itself was no easy feat during prime time traffic.
As I navigated a jughandle turn (for those of you not familiar with this peculiar setup, it is a turn that looks like a handle because you have to exit to the right of the road only to curve around to make a legal turn again. I think New Jersey may have the patent on this) I pondered my plight. It got worse. Now I was facing an intersection beckoning me to follow it towards my hunted quest but it wasn't on my printed out directions.
Hmmm...the sign said Edison with an arrow pointing me that-away. I seized upon that information like a salivating, hungry wolf. Prime Rib nirvana was looming closer! Or, was it? My excited anticipation began to wane after a few miles, traveled at a snail's pace due to the traffic. This was the road, the sign said so. So, where was this place? The road was 4 lanes wide with hungry, tired commuters all wanting to get home and there I was, trying to look at both sides with quick glances and trying to drive at the same time. This is when GPS would be a great thing to have.
Along the way I spotted a police car making a turn at the intersection. It was a Mustang. Now, I don't know about you but I've never pictured a Mustang muscle car as a police vehicle. As I waited for the light to turn, for some reason seeing that Mustang patrol car took me down memory lane, to a time when I was in college and dating the guy who would wind up becoming my husband two years later. That gold Mustang had been the envy of my dorms! It was a Mach I with a 351 Boss engine and hurst shift. Black slats covered the rear window and it boasted a stereo system to boom out the best 70's rock music. It was automobile heaven. Anyway, the thought of the Mustang being a police car amused me for the duration of the light.
When it turned green, I was on my way again. Lost, but on my way. Then, I saw another sign. It told me I was now leaving Edison. Oh no! I looked at the traffic going in both directions and made a decision. I was now officially 45 minutes late for my wonderful prime rib dinner. I was hungry, tired and frustrated. I decided it was time to find my way home. In the end, dinner wound up being Chinese take out last night instead of a fancy dinner with colleagues.
Because I was either dropped on my head while young or am a slow learner, but I trusted Mapquest again less than 24 hours later. I had an important legal appointment and needed to be at the courthouse--a courthouse I had never been to before. The directions promised only 3 turns from the highway. Piece of cake! The first turn brought a sense of relief. Ok, great I would arrive early enough to destress and relax. The next turn was at 0.1 miles on Elm. Wait a minute...where was Elm?! As I passed several streets and watch the odometer go past 0.1 miles from the last turn, there was no Elm. I could feel my stress levels shooting up. I was in city traffic and now lost. Every street was a one way so every time I made a choice, it took several more turns to right myself again. Of course I hit every red light. Finally I saw a courthouse sign. This way it said to parking!
I had to park on the roof. I had made it with 3 minutes to spare but at least I was there! In the elevator I made some small talk and mentioned I needed to be in a certain area by 9am and how grateful I was to have made it in time.
The man frowned, "Uh, hate to tell you but you're at the wrong courthouse. The one you want is over there," He pointed to a tall, windowed building several blocks away. "Better run," he suggested.
The elevator doors slid open. I took a deep breath. I had 1 minute to get there. As I stepped outside, the sky opened up and it began to rain.
I had no umbrella. Where was a Mustang police car when you needed one?