For those of you who don’t know the DC area that well, the International airport is in no way convienently located near the city. It is an hour by car, and as I found out, two and a half hours away by public transportation.
I rolled out of bed at 4:45 in the morning. Which was quite a feat in it’s own right, and made my way to the metro station. I took the metro to a buss depot, where I rode a freeway flyer to a second buss depot. Once there I snagged the local buss for a twilight tour of urban sprawl. I looked through the rack of bus route maps on the bus, sadly the only one that was empathy was the route I was on. So I asked my bus driver if she could tell me when we reached the stop that the transit authority’s website had directed me too.
She looked perplexed….
Which is not the look you want from the person in charge of getting you where you need to be.
She said she had never heard of the stop before.
On the way pass another buss she asked an elderly gentlemen, whom I assume was her boss, about the stop. He conjectured that it was in fact some other stop. But the sound of the engine noise kept me from hearing the specifics
At this point I felt relived. It seemed that the critical piece of information had been transferred. But as we rode around the route I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. As we passed stop after stop and rapidly approached the time that my iteniray told me I should be getting off the bus I asked her.
Tragically she seemed to again be perplexed. I don’t think I fully communicated the situation and she said it might be around this stop. But we continued to another stop…. Convinced that I had just missed the stop I asked to get off as soon as possible so I could head back. She let me off, and I began to wander around in the twilight looking for an address that effectively made no sense in relation to all the addresses I saw around.
It was one of those great places where there are no sidewalks, as I walked back along the route the bus had come in I again wondered “How on earth am I going to find this place. It all looked so close on the map, but now it just didn’t make any sense. Passing a hotel I decide I would try to get some directions.
I entered the comfort inn with a cadre of what seemed to be Middle Eastern businessmen. When I asked the man at the front desk if he could give me directions or a map, he said he didn’t really know the area, but that a man in blue by the buffet knew it quite well. I expected that he was referencing another employee. Walking into the next room, which housed the buffet, I found a man in a blue jacket, clearly not an employee but still the only person in blue. I walked back to the desk to confirm that I was in fact to talk to the man in the blue jacket. He had a kind of trucker look to him. I was told ‘yes’ that was he.
As I asked the man in the blue jacket if he could tell me how to get to the office he gave me a “who the hell are you” Kind of look. Much better than a perplexed look I pressed forward. He told me to ask the man in the blue shirt who was upstairs. Why not, I still have half an hour to get to the office.
I walked up stairs to meet an older Middle Eastern man. I asked him if he knew how to get to the address I had for the office. Looking at my paper, perplexed…. He announced, “ I think I do, but it is too far to walk. Wait down stairs and I will drive you.”
Considering, What choice do I have but to hop in this mans car in hopes of getting to my orientation?
I head back downstairs to find the trucker looking gentleman, the one in the blue coat. He tells me that I could use the computer in the business center to find my way.
Overjoyed at the prospect of looking at a map, and finding the hard facts I plugged in the address I needed to get to and the address of the hotel, I printed the directions and decided to head out on my own to find the building. I printed them out and started out the front door.
As I headed out I started to remember my high school gym classes, particularly how long it took to go a mile. In tiptop shape I could run a mile in six minuets and some change. My directions called for me to travel some two and a half miles, in thirty minuets. I realized in the parking lot of that comfort inn that there was no way I was going to be even close to on time if I walked it. So I figured, why not take my chances with the Middle Eastern man’s car.
I found him, this time near the buffet; I showed him the map I had printed off, which he quickly dismissed as wrong. He said he knew where it was and that that was not it. Remember he had been somewhat perplexed by the address before, but for whatever reason looking at the map gave him all sorts of confidence that he knew and that the Internet was wrong. What the hell, what else do I have.
I snacked on a muffin while he gathered his things and we hoped in one of those big hotel van things and went on our way. Strangely we headed back the exact way I had walked from the bus, we passed the stop that my driver had several hours earlier left me off at, the one after the one we thought it was, or at least I thought it was.
Apparently my bus driver had not been as perplexed as I had thought she was. As I drove past the bus stop I had been left off at, and headed about 600 feet to my final destination my mind wandered through events that brought me here, It felt like a full day, and I hadn’t even begun my 8 hr orientation.