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Washington Week in Review
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Just say "No" to the Salvation Army.

For those masochistic enough to want to read the on-line version of my Christmas letter, you can find it here.

That's it for today!

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22 December 2001

For those who have missed my "Lost in Sacramento" tales, this is your day.

This morning I did a transport for Breaking Barriers, a woman who lived in a sort of half-way house on 48th Avenue.

Perhaps some remember my difficulties  trying to find 41st Avenue by the Sacramento Airport, where I ended up at the intersection of 41st and 41st and still didn't know where to go.

Today was not unlike that. Come to think of it, it was very much like that, only this gal lived on 48th. I've tried to give you some visuals to help understand this.

I have a Thomas Guide that I've been using ever since my previous fiasco and it's helped a lot. But in this area of town, around the Executive Airport, things are just bizarre. The streets are about half numbered--with the numbered avenues crisscrossing with the numbered streets and perhaps half a dozen named streets between them. There appears to be no rhyme or reason to it, at least not while you're driving around. (In one spot I found 13th Avenue two blocks from 41st Street, with two named streets inbetween them!)

But I figured that the Thomas Guide would be a big help. The guide is divided up so you can check the specific number of street--like the 2000 block of Main Street. And I did that. According to what the Thomas Guide told me, I should find this woman right here:

map48-1.jpg (32383 bytes)

Notice that right here, 48th Avenue appears to be at right angles to 47th Avenue, and also that 48th Avenue and Freeport Blvd appear to be the same street.

I was so proud of myself for figuring out how to get here and I got there unerringly. The problem was that 48th Avenue was one block long, in the middle of an industrial section, and it was the 1600 block, when my client lived in the 2100 block (I figured out later that I must have confused the number on the house where she lives with the number on the office where she was going and that's how I got so terribly lost.)

For reference, here's a wider view of the map. The circle on the left is where I was, the circle on the right is where I was supposed to be, and the grey in the middle is the airport.  The arrows show how I was supposed to get there from where I was to where I should be.

map48-2.jpg (28300 bytes)

It's easy if you're sitting in your family room staring at the map, knowing where you've been and how you got there. But when you're out there among the streets, it's not quite that straightforward.

It was even more complicated by my calling the house where this gal was living and getting directions. The guy I spoke with asked me if I were north or south of the airport. At that point, I didn't even realize I was sitting across the street from the airport (which is behind a tall bushy hedge). But when he asked, I figured out where I must be, but I'm geographically dyslexic. Oh, I know north from south on a map (north is up and south is down, unless I'm holding the map upside down, but then the fact that the words are also upside down is usually a pretty good giveaway).

In this particular case, I was not only confusing north and south, I was confusing east and west. When I told him I was south of the airport, in my mind I was visualizing west. (It's a wonder anybody lets me out on the streets).

After I started processing the directions, I realized where I was and that I'd given him the wrong information, so that meant I not only had to remember the six turns he'd told me to make, but I had to remember them backwards. Was it left or right? And which street was the first street I was supposed to turn on?

Well, I remembered I was supposed to turn left (or was it right?) on 24th St. He also said something about Fruitridge (which is the uppermost street where the red arrow is going), but I couldn't remember if that was a turn on Fruitridge or if he just said that 24th St. was beyond Fruitridge. When I got to Fruitridge, more and more I felt I should turn, so I did, turning--I think--in the direction opposite what he told me when he thought I was coming from the other direction.

(Are you following all of this? If I've lost you, now you know how I felt!)

Well, after several blocks of name-only streets, no numbers, I figured I probably was supposed to go past Fruitridge to 24th, so I went back to Freeport, and did that. Only I passed 35th, then a bunch of named streets and then 23rd? Huh? What happened to 24th? I got off on 23rd, which seemed to only go for a block and then get lost in a mass of intertwining named, not numbered, streets.

By now it was obvious I wasn't going to get the client in time for her to make her appointment, so I called to let the office know she would be late. The people I was talking to tried to give me directions on how to get there, but I knew where the office was. I just couldn't find 48th Ave.

When I hung up, I realized that I didn't even have the number for the office and that I'd just called the house where the client lived again, and had passed up a chance for getting more instructions. By this time I was so embarrassed, I didn't dare call back a third time, so I did what I always do at times like this--I called Sam at Breaking Barriers. Together we looked at our respective Thomas Guides and she finally got me turned in the correct direction, and back to Fruitridge, and headed in the proper direction (it turns out I started out wrong when I arrived in Sacramento, as I even took the wrong freeway to get there!).

But I wasn't completely out of the woods (or out of my fog) yet.  The street I was supposed to turn on (24th) was considerably farther than I expected and I ended up stopping some elderly couple hobbling down the street.  They gave me directions that finally got me where I should be almost without problems, if you discount almost being shot by a cranky mailperson I cut off while trying to make an illegal u-turn (mailpersons get so irritable in December, don't you think?)

Finally, however, I knew where I was and other than almost missing the turn onto 48th because the sun was in my eyes and I couldn't read the sign, I arrived.

The man I had spoken with first told me it was a green house. When I got to the street, there were four houses: a green, a white, a blue, and another green. Confidently I pulled into the driveway of the second green house, only it wasn't the right address. The guy was no better than I am--the house is white.

But eventually I did get her, and I did deliver her where she was supposed to go and I didn't even stagger off to the nearest bar to have an 11 a.m. gin and tonic because I was so frustrated wandering around Sacramento all morning.

I was even able to find my way home, but I was so frazzled that I completely forgot to run an important errand I was going to run on the way home.

Maybe I'll have that gin and tonic anyway. It's after noon, after all.

One Year Ago:
Mom's Christmas Crisis
(LOL--I just read last year's and I got lost on a Breaking Barrier transport a year ago! Maybe I'm starting a new holiday tradition.)

My tip of the week:
Go NOW to Pictures to EXE Presentations
and download some of the fantastic
slide shows which have been
uploaded.  You wont be sorry!

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