A big city adventure
I had an interesting adventure on Friday.
I drove to Des Moines to attend the Iowa Newspaper Association Convention and Awards Ceremony.
Travelling that far away alone and in such unfamiliar territory is something that I did often when I was 20-something but now nearly 50, the thought terrifies me.
My hands began sweating as I clutched the steering wheel the closer I came to the city and by the time I was in the city, surrounded by vehicles of all sizes going faster than I wanted to be traveling, I was sweating profusely and my fingers had molded permanent marks into the steering wheel.
As I tried to read the signs while keeping up with the flow of traffic, I missed my turn and had my first panic attack as I continued down the road for a ways wishing I was back at my office and wondering how in the world I was going to get headed back in the other direction and hopefully make the exit I was supposed to have initially taken.
I got turned around and did make the exit, headed for downtown. Wow! Too much to look at to be paying attention! I see the Marriott ahead of me and before I know it, behind me. Now what do I do? Panic attack number two. I circle around and cut off the guy driving behind me. Sorry! Hopefully, I think, he saw my Cherokee County license plate and knows why I did what I did.
I finally find a parking ramp and pull in, not even knowing how far I am from the Marriott.
I have a difficult time finding my car when I come out of the grocery store in Storm Lake; do you think I will actually remember where I parked in this ramp that holds some 500 cars?
I couldn't worry about it; I was running late.
Miraculously, I found the hotel using the sky walk and the registration area and even the room already filled with hungry fellow newspaper people from across the state.
Special speaker for the luncheon was Peter of the famed 1960s musical group Peter, Paul and Mary. He wanted everyone in the room to share in his music. Yes, "Puff the Magic Dragon" is a great song but darn it, I found eating that fudge chocolate torte in front of me, calling out to me, more enjoyable.
The afternoon drug on and finally it was time for the evening event. We began with a meal of steak that was so rare that it mooed each time it was cut into. It upset me seeing so much good food being left on plates all around all because the cooks didn't take more time in the kitchen.
Awards followed, I walked up in front a few times to accept Pilot Tribune first place awards and finally it was time to look for my car.
Surprisingly I located it quite easily and I believed I would be on the road leading home soon. Wrong. I had no idea how I had gotten where I was so I certainly had no idea how I was going to get out of where I was.
I drove around the darkened city for 45 minutes but unlike any lost man driver, I stopped two times at gas stations to ask for directions. (Actually the second time wouldn't have been necessary if I had just continued down the line a ways more following the first set of directions.)
I was very relieved to be out of the city and eventually back on the two-way roads I am used to driving.
So tired after my adventurous day I was so glad to be pulling into my driveway at 2 a.m. and couldn't wait to get to sleep.
As I turned the knob to go in, I realized I had been locked out of the house. After calls to the home phone and two cell phones, I was relieved on the fourth call that Marissa picked up and drug herself out of bed to let me in.
I'm giving someone else the opportunity to attend the awards ceremony next year. I'm staying here.