My family very infrequently goes to the K-Mart at home.
I tell you this to make myself look better.
When I was maybe ten, we were in the school supplies aisle at K-Mart when Mama sent me back to the front of the store to get a shopping cart. I got to the front of the store just fine, and I turned around to go back, and I couldn’t find her again and got hopelessly lost.
When I was five, we had just moved into our new neighborhood and my parents took us on a walk around the block. I got my mother’s attention and pointed.
“Look! There’s a house with a red door JUST LIKE OURS!”
It turned out to be our house.
During my first week in Rome last year, not only did I get lost, but I stayed lost in the dark streets of a strange city because I confused McDonald’s with the Metro signs.
The other day, I was supposed to go in the back door of a church to meet someone. There were about seven doors, and of course the one that I chose led to two more doors: the maintenance closet and an ancient, scary elevator, the kind with those wire screens that you pull across that would certainly do nothing to protect you in an emergency.
I understand that the best course of action probably would be to have gone back outside and chosen another door, but I’d already walked down the hallway and mentally committed.
I got in the elevator and shut the outer door, then pulled the scary screen across. I looked at the elderly buttons with their masking tape labels and decided to continue taking risks and press the one for the basement. I think part of that rationale was that I was less likely to plummet to my death if I was going down than if I was on my way up.
The elevator started going down.
Five seconds passed.
The elevator stopped going down.
I shifted my weight and pressed the screen closed in the hopes that would help.
I peered through the screen. I could still see the bottom part of the door to the hallway.
I thought I heard footsteps and considered screaming for help.
I considered opening the screen and attempting to push the outer door open so that I could climb out, which I could probably have done, but my roommate Jordan is a total freak about stuff like that and is always telling us how if you get stuck between the platform and the subway you can get spliced and die horribly and so I was afraid that would happen, and being crushed in an elevator would be an awful way to die.
I considered calling the Boyfriend and getting him to rescue me.
I considered smashing all of the buttons.
The footsteps got louder, I thought, unless the elevator was slowly breaking and it merely sounded like footsteps.
I settled for pressing the first floor button, and miraculously the elevator began to go back up, and I thanked God and my lucky stars, and it rose way too slowly to the ground floor and I flung back the screen and opened the door, just as the person I was to meet came down the hallway, checking to make sure that I knew where I was going and hadn’t gotten stuck in the deathavator.
I played it off pretty well, I think.
I get lost pretty frequently, probably more frequently than I should, but sometimes it leads to new and exciting things.
Also, the GPS on my phone is a big help.