Beep Beep Beep! My husband’s cell phone cuts through the silence of the still dark upstairs room at my cousin’s house. I stumble around trying to find a light switch. Soon, we are dressed and our clothes tucked into our suitcase. The hallway is dark and we feel along the wall looking for the elusive switch. No light peeks under the doorway downstairs and I wonder about my cousin’s promise to get up and make us breakfast at this early hour. The downstairs is still clothed in darkness and we gingerly tiptoe towards the front door.
Then the room is bathed in light. “Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry. My alarm didn’t go off. I was going to make you breakfast,” declares my befuddled, flustered cousin who is still not quite awake.
“It’s OK,” I assure her. “A little cold cereal and fruit will be fine.”
Soon we are seated, enjoying a very adequate breakfast of “grown on their tree” grapefruit, cold cereal, and bagels. By 6:30 a.m., we are on the road headed for Largo, Florida and the Christian Television Network (CTN) where I am to have an interview regarding my second book, No Longer A Child of Promise. I am both excited and nervous.
The Google directions that I printed out before leaving home efficiently and correctly guide us up Interstate 75 to Interstate 275 to US 19. The directions finally tell us to “take the exit toward 150th Ave N.” That seems simple enough. Then they instruct us to “merge onto US Hwy 19 N” and “turn right onto 142nd Ave N.”
“Why do I want to get back onto Hwy 19? We just got off of there,” declares my hubby.
I have no idea what to say. This makes no sense to me either but that is what the directions say. The cars continue to fly by us at 60 miles per hour from all directions. How does one make a split second decision in less than a second? The traffic is not tolerant of these Midwestern country folk.
I can feel the tensions rising. My husband motions with both hands extended in the air. “Which way do I go?”
“I don’t know,” I shriek. “This makes no sense. Just get back on Hwy 19.”
As we think about this, there is no way we are going to find a 142nd Ave after the 150th. We decide to get off again at the next exit. We turn right. We turn left. Now we are in a Walmart parking lot with NO idea where we are or where we are going. Why do I feel like I have just been spun in a blender? Maybe, we should have paid for that GPS for the rental car? There is nothing to do but to stop and ask for help. A clerk in the Walmart store informs me that 142nd Ave is on both side of US 19 but it is cut in half by the freeway. “I think the address you are looking for is on this side,” She says.
Armed with this information, we start out again in our VW Beetle aimed in the right direction. We soon find 142nd Ave and turn onto it. That is a first successful step in this goose chase. The numbers are going up so that is good but soon we are stopped in our tracks. There is US 19 ahead of us and no, we cannot cross it. Great!
“Which way now?” questions my hubby.
I don’t think I have been this frustrated and confused for a long time. Maybe, I am just too old and too countrified for this city driving. I take a deep breath and try to think about this logically.
“Let’s just go down this frontage road and see if we can cross over at that next road up there,” I conclude.
I can see cars coming under the freeway in the distance. Since the number we are looking for is in the 6900 block, we should be able to turn left under the bridge and follow that road to 69th St and then make a left back to 142nd Ave. I think the theory is logical but we are met with a “No outlet” sign once we make our turn. Can I tear my hair out now? I am glad we have extra time. This is totally exasperating. All that is left to do is go back and catch the frontage road on this side of the freeway and follow it to 142nd. Hurrah!! It works and we find our destination. By now my muscles are tensed and my stomach is in a knot. Take a few deep breaths, I tell myself. We are here in plenty of time. I can do this. To watch the interview on utube, click on link below.