I have a story to tell and it’s pretty pathetic.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a great driver. I’m not even a decent driver. I’m the deadliest type of driver out there: Asian, female artist (AFA) which means that on top of being overly-submissive and nervous on the road, my artist-self is distracted by every detail. Typography on a billboard, funky looking pedestrians, a beautiful blade of grass. EVERYTHING. I also make last-minute lane changes and sporadic U-turns deserving of the middle finger.
So! Driving to a job interview in the city of Seattle can make me highly excitable. But the first four times proved to be okay. I always arrived extra early with an hour or more to kill (in which case I’d find the nearest Starbucks or Tully’s and dominate on Scrabble). I always printed out directions from Google map (in addition to the GPS on my phone) so for my fifth interview I thought I was set. Right?
No, I was terribly wrong. I left the house an hour early and it should’ve only taken 20-24 minutes to get to my destination. Interview was set for 12:30. I felt good! But the good feeling started slipping away as I thought….where is the right lane that turns into Idaho Street?! I looked back on the map and realized, to my dismay, that I was looking at the wrong side. It was supposed to be a left turn and I’d missed it. Time to pull over and back track. Wait, which direction is North? Why is there a giant concrete barrier in the middle of this road when I need to make a U-turn? Why am I headed towards (downtown) Seattle when I should be seeing warehouses? I pulled over the first time to ask a construction worker where I might find Idaho Street. In a drawl he said “Idaho Street?” Yeah okay I know, this isn’t Idaho but that’s the name of the street, ok!
I pulled over to the nearest gas station and hopelessly sat there, across from the Elephant Car Wash (one of Seattle’s most memorable land marks…a giant pink, rotating elephant that mocked me with every turn). It was 12:20 and I was lost. As lost as Nemo…or Oceanic Flight 815.
I called the company I was applying for and let them know I was running late. The young man on the other end was sympathetic, telling me he got lost on his first day too, and tried helping me find my way out of the Seattle-labyrinth. His directions only confused me more to which I blurted at the end “Right now all I’m seeing is a giant pink elephant.” He got silent so I let him go and it was back to square one. GPS was not helping me (because I’m illiterate when trying to read maps). I had two options:
1) Admit to failure and call my husband who could pull up a map on his screen at work and act as my human-GPS. This would’ve been the rationale and right thing to do.
2) Phone a taxi company and have a cab pull up next to my car so that I can follow it to my destination. This was the irrational and costly alternative.
I went with #2. Perhaps my subconscious self didn’t want to crawl back to my husband, tail between my legs, only to confirm the stereotype attributed to my gender/race. I just wanted out! And that rusty yellow cab was gonna save me. This is how the conversation rolled:
Me (to the cab driver): Hey, um, I need to get to this location but I’m lost and I don’t want to park my car here and have to pay extra so….can I just pay you to lead me there?
Driver: *Looks at me blandly* Yeah but it’s gonna cost $20 and you have to pay upfront.
Me: *nervous laugh* When did the price go up? Haha…ha…ha.
Driver: *Gives me the “Are you serious?” face* Look, this is an unusual situation and how do I know if you’ll pay me or not once I get you there? It’s gonna be about $20.
Me: Once I give you the money, you’re not just going to drive off and leave me stranded right?
Driver: Look, once we get on the Alaskan Way Viaduct there’s only one way we can go with nowhere to pull off until Idaho Street. So you can’t lose me.
Me: Ok, lemme get my wallet :(
So I paid a cab 20 bucks and 12 minutes later I was at the interview. I was so happy just to be there that I gave him a $3 tip even though he was extra grumpy. Moral of the story: In a situation like this, be an adult and call your significant other because not only does it strengthen the matrimonial bond of trust and inter-dependency, but you save one green Andrew Jackson.
Needless to say, I was offered the full-time design position so that was $20 well spent. The End.