I was invited over to a friend’s house last night to play the Star Trek-edition Settlers of Catan she got a few months earlier. (YAY!) I was forced to cancel last time because of my stomach, so I was determined to go this time. Rysa was out of town at her friend’s bachelorette party, so I was on my own.
My friend’s house was farther than I anticipated (I don’t drive out that direction often, let alone that far) and, on the way over, my GPS died. No matter, I had my phone’s GPS, plenty of gas, and I missed driving around. Found the house without trouble.
My friend and her husband and I had a blast! That one game turned into seven hours of Star Trek Settlers of Catan, Lord of the Rings Monopoly, two games of Archrival, and hours and hours of Disney+ karaoke, along with dancing with their two precious dogs and eating lots of cookies.
As they actually had lives to return to in the morning, we had to call it a night. The problem was getting home. They offered to let me stay since it was 2:30am, but I wanted to get to my own bed. (Besides, I have Mountain Dew running through my veins like mutagen, I wasn’t even sleepy.) I was not familiar with the urban residential streets of the area, so I pulled out my phone again – eek, only 12% battery left – and it started taking me home.
Or so I thought.
I do not know how it happened, but I can only imagine that it had not relinquished my earlier quest of finding the house and, somehow, played both my directions to get home and my directions to my friend’s house at the same time. I have never driven through so many dead-end cul-de-sac U-turns at 3am in my entire life. “Turn left on A. Turn right on B, then keep left.” A and B are parallel streets, I can’t take one and turn onto the other. “Rerouting. Make a U-turn and turn right on A. Turn left on C.” C doesn’t exist. There’s an arroyo (large water canal for storm water) there and a sign that clearly says, Stay Out. “Turn left on D Street. Turn left on D Lane. Rerouting. Make a U-turn. Head north.” Stop telling me where to go, you’re going to get me shot by the neighborhood watch because I’ve gone through this road at 3am fourteen times already!
After about 30 minutes (it was already supposed to be a 30-minute drive home), I found the interstate! From there, it was a simple task to get on and exit at the main street that intersects my home street. Bright green signs telling me how far it is, lots of streetlights, and wonderfully little traffic at this hour. Homeward bound, right?
Wrong. My phone’s battery, whittled by GPS usage in the menagerie of residential streets, died just as I had to choose between North and South. For a normal person, this would be a simple matter of, “Well, which direction is home? North!” No, not I, for I didn’t actually know which direction from home my friend’s house was. Was her house south of mine or north? Oh, look, there are people behind me mad that I’m not driving despite the green light.
So I turned South. You guessed it! Wrong direction. Like, cataclysmic’ly wrong direction, for this was the southern-most part of the town and beyond was… open southern-USA roads. That means very few street lights (if they existed, they weren’t turned on, and I can verify that the only one I found was not turned on), pitch black roads with 75mph speeds, no moonlight because it’s less than 1/4 full right now, headlights in my rear view for not going 75mph while looking for sign of an exit, and no phone to call for a friend’s help (not that they would know where to look because I had no idea where I was).
The next exit was five miles away. Five miles of pitch-black roads with occasional curves. Five miles of try not to cry, you already can’t see in the dark so don’t add tears. Five miles of get off my tail, you @%&$*(%$* %$#&% *%$@(*, you think I want to be here?! Five miles of I’m never leaving the house without a fully-charged phone, I don’t care if I’m an hour late to everything. Five miles of no one is ever going to find my body when I hit a deer and bleed out on the side of the road. (I would like to add here that I have anxiety. This may seem dramatic, but I was still fairly calm for someone with anxiety.)
Finally, after believing I would be on the road for another hour before crossing some structure of humanity, I found an exit with a turn-around going Northerly. (Again, the streetlight meant to illuminate the sharp curve of this turn was not on.) It was far less stressful going the five mile return and the five miles I was supposed to do in the first place (especially once I hit the functional streetlights) and then I was in well-known territory.
It was a 90-minute drive home (just before 4am). I would like to think that this experience has bettered me in some way, prepared me for the eventualities I never thought could all happen at once, but I really can’t remember because it’s been blotted from my memory.
Slept really great, tho.
Hope this finds you well and you have a great day!