If I ever suggest to you that you should follow me in my car to a certain location, then you should probably hit me in the head with something, heave my unconscious body into the trunk, and drive yourself where you need to go. I guarantee that even if it’s your very first trip to the town in question, you’ll have a better chance of making it to your location by blindly driving yourself around town than if you follow me.
I had a big support group for the Messiah performance on Saturday. In addition to Mom, Dad, Jamie, and Sammi, my Nanie and my aunt and uncle came along, and Sammi dragged her very good sport of a boyfriend too. Incidentally, I have a feeling that the huge turnout was less about the Messiah and more about having a chance to gawk at the new boyfriend, but I could certainly be wrong.
We’d planned to go to dinner after the performance, because I couldn’t eat too soon beforehand or I’d junk up my voice. We did not quite realize that the performance would last for two and a half hours. Also, the chapel was sickly hot, as it had been on Friday during non-dress rehearsal. Watching all the people in the pews fanning themselves with programs, with all the doors wide open to try to let some of the night air in, I felt like I was in church in Maycomb, Alabama. The point of all that is to tell you that my family members, who are not necessarily into things like sacred oratorios, are total troupers for sitting through such a long performance in that insane heat, and I love them eternally for coming to see me sing with a bunch of mean old hags (and a few lovely, nice people). Because the performance was so long, by the time we got off campus and to the restaurant where we’d planned to eat, it had closed. The only other place I knew of that was open past ten was that fine dining establishment called International House of Pancakes.
So we decided to go to IHOP.
It was suggested that I lead everyone there, because obviously if I’ve been living in Lynchburg for 18 months and working there for more than 5 years, I know my way around town. And, shockingly, I do know exactly where IHOP is and I know how to get there. This is not true of all the obvious places in town. I have gotten lost on my way to the snooty rich Kroger more than once in the past six months. I secretly think they keep changing its location to keep riffraff like me away. So Sammi, her boyfriend, Jamie, and I went ahead in my car, and my parents, aunt and uncle, and nanie followed.
Here’s why I’m bad at leading you with my car: I will inadvertently ditch you at every single red light along the way. This is what I did on Saturday. Luckily, it was raining and late and traffic was light enough that I could slow down until they caught up with me. But then we got to this intersection, where I once again blew through a yellow light and left Uncle Bob and company idling in my dust.
I hate the sketchy Exxon, by the way. I only go there when I have a College car because we must use their Exxon or Chevron cards for gas, and the sketchy Exxon’s pump sensors don’t work and you inevitably spill about two gallons of gas out on the ground every time.
I realized immediately that I’d ditched them at the light. Again. And this intersection was too busy for me to just hang out and wait for them. Already there were cars coming from the cross street who’d turned right, and so even if my family made it through the light soon they’d be several cars behind me. I decided I’d pull into the church parking lot just past the Exxon and wait for them to catch up, then I’d scoot out in front of them and we’d be back on our way.
Problem: the church parking lot wasn’t a church parking lot at all. It was a one-way street. There was in fact a church parking lot, but you had to go down the one-way street to get to it.
There was no way I could turn around and go back the wrong way down the one-way street. I was absolutely sure that the God of Traffic Laws would smite the hell out of me if I did. So I decided I’d go down an alley beside Sketchy Exxon and turn onto the cross street, and maybe I could get through the light ahead of them before it changed.
Right as I turned onto the cross street I saw their light turn green, and off they went. I was behind two cars and had to wait for my light to turn green, and once it did, I turned back onto the main street and they were nowhere in sight. As we tried to figure out where the hell they’d gone, we glanced ahead and saw them creeping down the one-way street by the church parking lot. D’oh!
My uncle Bob was a truck driver for many years, and a dispatcher for even more years. He got paid actual cash money to give people directions. He has the best sense of direction of anyone I have ever known, and to this day, even with the wonders of MapQuest and the like, we still sometimes call him to get the clearest and fastest directions to a place. I figured Uncle Bob was about ready to kill me at this point.
I pulled onto the one-way street, with my passengers giving me tons and tons of shit about it, and tried to pull into the parking lot to tell them to follow me back down the alley by Sketchy Exxon. It took me a while, though, because Uncle Bob drove around in circles in the church parking lot for a few minutes, making it impossible for me to catch up with him. See what he did there?
That’s what we call a joke.
Eventually we got ourselves all straightened out and I drove like a damn granny the rest of the way to IHOP, where I enjoyed a delicious Rooty Tooty Fresh & Fruity combo and some quality time with the fam. The end.