Just when you think that, over the years, you’ve finally run through all the possible stupid ways to get stranded, it’s practically natural law that you immediately come across another.
A month ago, I signed up for a volunteer orientation about half an hour off campus. In hindsight, I probably should’ve expected something to go wrong—together, public transportation and a set time never bode well for me—but this time I’d inputted the address beforehand and was confident nothing could go wrong.
Entering destinations into Google Maps lends me an unwarranted semblance of control. It’s a rush, knowing where I’m going and when I’ll get there. Sometimes I’ll even put in addresses on the way to class to gage walking time, especially when I’m already en route and unable to do anything about how late I’m going to be, just because unadulterated terror is the only thing that gets me going in the mornings anymore.
It was about time my compulsive need to preview directions to my every location finally bit me in the ass, but I must say I’d expected the reckoning to be from Google Maps malfunctioning. Or at least losing signal and overshooting my stop because my location wouldn’t update. Or missing the bus. Probably anything would’ve been smarter than what actually happened.
At my expected stop, the bus pulled over to the side of the road. The doors hissed open. I thought it was odd that the stop was in the middle of a street—like, not even close to an intersection, just halfway down the length of a relatively busy road—but got off anyway because I feel less responsible for things going wrong when it’s the result of me doing as I’m told.
It was 6:17, giving me enough time for the estimated 7-minute walk. The orientation was at some police department, and while I hadn’t ever been to a police department before (humble brag?) I had a feeling it probably wouldn’t look like a hotel construction site. Cars swerving around my person, I double-checked the address in the email.
… It was a different address from the one I’d been using. All sensation draining from my extremities, I recalled that in the morning I’d been making plans with a friend to go to chicken shit bingo (this is another story) and had left that address in the app. So now I had ten minutes left before orientation, which was on the opposite side of town.
I called an Uber. I can count the number of times I’ve Ubered alone at night on one hand and no fingers because I’m scared of ridesharing. Rather presumptuously, I always assume drivers want to murder me even though I’m sure they all have better ways to spend their time.
I finally was able to step off the street to stand in the middle of a vacant parking lot in the dark, where passersby gave me a wide berth, probably because I was standing in the middle of a vacant parking lot in the dark.
The driver arrived in a few minutes, and I made it to the orientation late by less than ten minutes. Ducking my head, I made my way to the back of the room of prospective volunteers and pulled out my phone, wondering if I should text my mom about the close call. Would she be worried? Annoyed that I’d put myself in danger?
She’d already texted me. Did you take an Uber ride this evening?
I did. Took a bus to the wrong location. Upon our call, later that night, I relayed my moments of panic, my confusion about the address mixup, and my ever-present fear of being murdered by an Uber driver. How I’d made a mistake, but at least there’d been an option that’d safely gotten me to the department relatively on time. It’d been such a close call.
“You used my free ride,” said my mom. Apparently my app had been linked to her account, and she’d been saving her first ride for a more expensive trip.
More on why I’ve been MIA in another post, but good to be back! Please consider following this blog via email and/or liking its Facebook page, where I post occasional life updates and quality excuses for the lack of said life updates. Oh, and find me on Instagram, too.
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