I’m a geography nerd. Once I’ve been somewhere once, I remember how to get there. I have a photographic memory in that respect.
But it’s a blessing and a curse.
I never get lost, but all of my friends who do get lost call me for directions. No matter where they are. A good friend (we’ll call her “Karen” – names have been changed to protect the inebriated) called me around 12:30 last night, belligerently drunk and lost in SE DC. Having lived in DC for a whopping five months, I can get around down there pretty well. The following is a rough account of what transpired.
1. Me: Hello?
Karen: Chris, help me. We’re lost in southeast DC and I need to get home.
Me: Where are you?
Karen: Uhh… East Capitol. We just passed 43rd Street SE. There are projects everywhere.
Me: So you’re going east on East Capitol?
Karen: Yes, we’re going east. Towards Maryland.
Me: Then turn around.
Karen: Hang on, we can’t turn around.
2. Karen says they’re going over a bridge. I know there are no bridges in that part of Southeast DC. Then she says she sees RFK Stadium. I quickly realize she is not going east, she’s going west.
Me: Don’t turn around!
Karen: NO, we are going east. We are not going towards my house.
Me: No, I’m the geography nerd. You’re going the right way. Do not turn around.
3. I ask Karen if she sees the Armory on her left. She says yes, but it was clearly on her right, because…
4. Karen: We’re heading back over the bridge now.
Me: WHY? I TOLD YOU NOT TO TURN AROUND!
Karen: We were going to wrong way, asshole.
Me: NO YOU WEREN’T!
5. Me: You’re heading towards Maryland now.
Karen: We are? How do I get home?
Me: I told you not to turn around. That was the way home.
Karen: I see Benning Road up ahead.
Me: TAKE A LEFT THERE! LISTEN TO ME!
Karen: Jager and I are best friends.
Me: LISTEN TO ME. TAKE A LEFT ONTO BENNING!
6. Passes Minnesota Avenue, makes veiled reference to missing Paul Wellstone. She then screams to her friends that I am the man she’s going to marry at 35 and we’re going to have lots of Jewish babies.
7. Passes Oklahoma Avenue, sings the song from the Broadway musical of the same name. I am sure her friends in the car with her are thoroughly amused.
8. Me: Okay, you’re going to go right right after Maryland onto Florida.
Karen: Onto Maryland?
Me: NO. Florida.
Karen: Ahh, Flahrider (in Rhode Island accent).
Me: Yes, then take a left on R Street.
Karen: ARRRRR Street?
Me: Yes, a pirate’s favorite street. Remember that.
9. Passes Galludet, makes comment to her friend, the driver, about avoiding the deaf people crossing the street.
10. Karen: Wait, so what street are we turning left onto?
Me: A pirate’s favorite street. Remember? This should be easy.
Me: No, Q is not a pirate’s favorite letter.
Karen: Oh, R. Here we are.
11. Me: Okay, go straight down R all the way to Sheridan Circle… past Rhode Island, past Vermont, past Connecticut…
Karen: Okay, we’re turning left onto Rhode Island.
Me: WHY ARE YOU TURNING LEFT ONTO RHODE ISLAND???
Karen: You said Rhode Island.
Me: I said go PAST Rhode Island.
12. Me: I’m about to give up on you. Go around Logan Circle and turn right onto P Street.
Karen: P Street?
Me: Yes, P. As in penis.
Karen (finding this far more amusing than it should be): Yessir!
13. Karen recognizes a Whole Foods and Halo, a gay nightclub. She claims to know where she is and can get home from here. I hang up, swearing to never take another call from her at 12:30 at night again.
My drunk friend, I hope you got home all right. Now please, don’t ever doubt my directions again.