I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sense of direction (an L.A. story)

It has been said that men don’t ask for directions when they think – or know – they’re lost. They would rather pull up to a service station and make their female rider ask the way.

I, on the other hand, would rather get detailed instructions and have someone tell me where to go while I’m driving because I have no sense of direction.

And it’s no different anywhere else in the world.

While in Los Angeles, I want directions on how to get to Hollywood and Highland and I spend almost a ½ hour (15 minutes on hold) on the phone with someone from the transport authority. After writing down every word the associate says, I repeat them back to him, making sure I write down the different bus lines, transfers and metro stops required to get from point A to point H and H.

On the way there, I keep my notes close to me, checking them every few minutes.

Things are going smoothly until I have to transfer buses.

While the bus rolls along Van Nuys, I begin to wonder where the hell I am after a ½ hour. This doesn’t feel right. I look around to find one person who I think looks like they know where they’re going, unlike me.

“Uh, excuse me,” I turn towards a woman sitting near the back exit, “do you know if we’re close to the Van Nuys station stop?”

“This is Van Nuys,” she says in a lightly-accented voice.

“No, no, the Van Nuys station. Are we close to the Van Nuys station?”

“Ummm,” she looks confused. “I think you should ask…” she points to the driver.

Oh, fuck. Fuck. Fuck. FUCK! Even though my ESP is on the blink, I already know what’s coming. Fuuuuuuck.

As I hobble towards the front of the bus, I begin to ask myself a series of questions: Did I write the wrong directions? Did I get on the wrong bus? Where was I supposed to transfer? How do I get there? Can I get there? Do I want to get there? Will I get lost again?

“Uh, excuse me…?” I practically whisper to the driver. He’s concentrating on the road and says nothing. I ask again when we’ve stopped at an intersection.

“Where is the Van Nuys station?”

“There is no Van Nuys station."

Puta cabrón.

“The guy on the phone – “ I try to say the rest of my sentence before he cuts me off.

“There is no Van Nuys station. You heard wrong.” He looks at me with pity because my face practically screams, Help me!  “Where did you want to go?”

“Hollywood and Highland,” I say, looking down.

“That transfer was about 20 minutes back.”

Twenty minutes? Fuck, I was lost.

“Get off at the next stop, run across the street and take the bus going the opposite direction.”

When the doors open at the intersection of Idiot and Clueless, I walk off the bus and run across the street and take the next bus back. I dial the transport authority and spend the next 20 minutes on hold, hoping that someone can give me the directions to get to my – final – destination.

While I’m waiting, I write down the names of the intersections and begin to check the free map that I picked up at the front of the bus. Using the small legend (one inch equals one mile), I calculate that I am about 20-30 minutes away from Santa Barbara.

Oh, yeah. I was so lost that instead of going east, I was going northwest… I think.

But, on the bright side, even though my sense of direction is shitty, I have a pretty good idea how to get to Santa Barbara.

I never made it to Hollywood and Highland that day.


Note: These circa 2006 writings are personal observations of a wide-eyed Canadian, and are not reflective of the residents of L.A.