Friendly, Breakfast-Offering Driver Fools Slug
This morning I parked at the new Telegraph Road Commuter Lot only to find there were no cars waiting to pick up slugs. I wasn’t surprised, as the lot is still very new, and in the handful of times I’ve parked there so far, I’ve yet to see any drivers waiting.
So I set off walking from the new lot to the Horner Road Commuter Lot, where I knew I’d be more likely to find a ride. As I was making the trek, an SUV pulled alongside me, and its occupants asked if I was going to Washington.
I told them that I was going to L’Enfant Plaza and they said OK, so I hopped in. The couple was really nice, and even asked if I wanted some of the breakfast they had picked up on the way. I politely declined, but thought, what nice people. They had saved me from the remainder of a pretty long walk, offered to feed me, and then were dropping me off at my destination, even though the lady mentioned she was going to the State Department.
Or so I thought.
Once we were on the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, I had to at least close my eyes – I’ve been so tired lately. Rushing as usual, I had forgotten my sunglasses in my car, but it was a bit dark and dreary this morning anyway. I dozed off almost immediately.
When I opened my eyes, we were approaching the exit for the Pentagon, but I realized the driver was getting into the left lane to exit toward the Memorial Bridge, which does not lead to L’Enfant Plaza.
“Wait!” I wanted to call out to him. “Where are you going?!”
We shouldn’t be going left! L’Enfant is straight ahead, across the 14th Street Bridge!
Instead, I said nothing, slowly realizing we must have misunderstood each other. I was assuming they would drive me where I told them I was going, and they must have assumed that I had agreed to get out near the State Department, where she was going. Well, we all know what happens when we assume.
Oh well, I thought. I’ll just have to get out by a Metro station, so that I can get to my office. At least I had made it to Washington, which was closer than I had started at the commuter lot.
Just then, I heard the couple in the front seat discussing where they were going to drop off.
“She’s going to, uh, ‘Elephant,’ I think she said,” said the lady.
“Elephant?’ Where’s that?” asked the driver.
“I don’t know where ‘Elephant’ is at. Maybe straight ahead?” she wondered. She said she’d call her friend and ask if there was a Metro nearby, to get to ‘Elephant.’
Wait a minute: they don’t even know how to get to a Metro station from here?
I started to feel uneasy; my apparent good luck this morning had run out. I’ve been desperate and taken rides to 18th Street NW before, but usually only as a last resort, since it’s so far from my office. The traffic is always backed up forever, and once I get there, the Metro stations are still six or seven stops away. So inconvenient.
But at the same time, I couldn’t complain about getting a ride. I was just frustrated with the situation in general, and I was definitely going to be late to work.
Finally, we were approaching the Foggy Bottom Metro station, but traffic was unmoving. The driver asked if I minded walking the last couple of blocks, and I thought, why not? The road was so congested that I might as well walk the rest of the way. And maybe it would help me to blow off some steam, too.
As I got out of the car, I reminded myself again that I was closer than I had started, and it could always be worse.
And maybe I wasn’t duped, but that misunderstanding certainly cost me quite a bit of time this morning!
At least I made it to work.