Monday, February 12, 2007

East of Eden

Today, my bosses at BJ's sent me to the BJ's at Willowbrook Mall to drop off a banner. I've never been to Willowbrook Mall, but I was aware that it was quite a drive. They concurred, and offered to reimburse me for gas and tolls. I happily agreed. Hey, I like my job. And this didn't seem too difficult. Sure, I didn't know where it was, but the general manager scribbled down some directions. And he was pretty confident in those directions. Surely, this can't go wrong.

I looked at my directions. I can quote them to you verbatim, 'cause I still have them:





…and then I was told to exit at FM 1960, at which point I'd see the mall right next to the freeway.

If you know how to get to Willowbrook Mall, you may have already seen the flaw that ruined my afternoon. But I didn't. So off I went, through the rain and Houston traffic. I took I-45, through downtown, towards Dallas.

I drove for a long time.

Eventually, I came to Beltway 8 East. I exited, as clearly indicated in my directions.

I drove for a while, looking for Highway 249. I didn't see it.

The rain got worse. I almost hydroplaned and spun out a few times. A semi nearly ran me off an overpass. I kept driving.

After about, oh, an hour, maybe an hour and a half, I neared a sign that announced FREEWAY ENDS – ALL VEHICLES MUST EXIT ½ MILES


After I exited, I kept going – Beltway 8 East became Beltway 8 South.


Because, yes, as it turns out, my directions were wrong – I called the people to whom I was dropping off said banner, who informed me that I had been going the wrong way for nearly two hours.

I was supposed to go west. Not east.

My eventual total drive time: four hours.

And the totally predictable punch line to this story? The banner they gave me to deliver? The one that ate up a sixth of my day?

It was the wrong banner.

In happier news, the four hours spent in my car gave me plenty of time to listen to that Gnarls Barkley album I was talking about yesterday. It is good.

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