May 29, 2003

City Driving Made Easy: The

City Driving Made Easy: The Hard Way

Let me just set the record straight right up front: I'm terrible at driving in cities. Tall buildings disorient me, street signs just confuse me, and my sense of direction would have sunk Columbus as soon as he lost sight of Spain.

With that in mind, it was no big surprise when, Tuesday night following a Twins game, I spent the next hour or so hopelessly meandering Minneapolis side streets. At one point, I was so lost in the suburbs, I almost said "to heck with it" and bought a house.

10:10 p.m. -- I leave the Metrodome parking lot. I take a left, because that's what every other car seems to be doing. And every other driver simply can't be wrong. Can they?

10:12 p.m. -- Every other driver is dead wrong. Traffic is so bad, you'd think the terror alert level was raised to red and everyone is trying to get out of town. The problem is complicated by a small fender bender that translates into a traffic standstill.

10:16 p.m. -- I take the next available right, and I immediately know I made a mistake because mine is the only vehicle on the street. Oh well, at least I'm out of traffic. I may not know where I'm going, but at least I'll get there faster.

10:25 p.m. -- Okay, this isn't funny any more. Where the heck am I? I can either continue on this unknown road, or I can take a right or left onto another unknown road. I take a left onto an unknown road.

10:32 p.m. -- I spy a four lane highway, with real on-ramps and everything! I take it without question, because it simply can't be any worse than the suburban side streets I've been on for the past 20 minutes.

10:36 p.m. -- Well, this can't be right. I don't recognize ANYTHING. Out of curiosity, I flip on the compass that is part of my rearview mirror. It says I'm going North. That's not good. I want to be going South, and a little bit East.

10:40 p.m. -- I take an off-ramp and promptly find myself once again buried in the burbs. I aim my vehicle down a street in the hopes I find something positive.

10:48 p.m. -- I don't find anything positive. I pull into a Super America station to buy a map of the Twin Cities. I also buy two lottery tickets and a Diet Pepsi. I open the map and am confronted by writing so small it can only be read by a scanning electron microscope. The Palestinian/Israeli "roadmap" to peace isn't this complicated.

10:55 p.m. -- After reading the map and kinda', sorta', almost being certain I know where I am on it, I resume my journey. I'm on Portland Ave., or so I think.

11:12 p.m. -- How come the Portland Ave. I'm driving on seems so much longer than the Portland Ave. shown on my map? I may have to swallow my pride and ask *gasp* directions.

11:17 p.m. -- Highlight of the evening. I spy a woman standing on a street corner. I pull up alongside her to ask directions and quickly come to the conclusion that she may, in fact, be a prostitute. I reach this conclusion due to her provocative dress, the fact it's 11:17 p.m., she's on a corner, and she seems unsually pleased to see a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness pull up in a 96' Cadillac Eldorado.

11:18 p.m. -- The presumed prostitute tells me, in a raspy voice that indicates a two carton a day smoker, that I'm on the wrong Portland Ave. "Honey," she says, and the word makes me cringe, "I think you want Portland Avenue South." I thank her, and she smiles at me in such a way that makes me want to yell "Thank You" to every dentist on the face of the planet.

11:32 p.m. -- I finally locate a highway I'm familiar with and check my compass to ensure that I am, indeed, heading South. After over an hour of perusing Mineapolis suburbs, I'm exasperated and I don't even care that I'm on a road that will take me twice as long as usual to get home.

12:45 a.m. -- I return triumphantly to my Rochester home, dangerously low on gas and exhausted to the point of coma. But, at least I got a new map out of the deal.

Posted by Ryan at May 29, 2003 12:08 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!