Someone Please Shoot Me Now
I had a gun show today. The day began with a less-than-auspicious start.
I was up late last night. I worked at my “real” job until 19:00. I arrived at the shop at about 19:30. I had to unload the organized chaos that resides in the trunk of my car, load up the guns I was taking to the show, and organize my paperwork.
By the time I got myself home and ready to go to bed, it was 23:30.
For some reason, I couldn’t fall asleep. I was still awake at 01:00. At 04:30, I was awake, thought I’m not sure if I had slept or not.
My alarm went off at 05:15; I finally dragged myself out of bed at 05:45.
I was out the door and on the road at 06:00.
I had planned on an hour for transit time (a generous cushion, but what proved to be a wise choice), so that I could arrive with an hour to get set up for the show’s opening at 08:00.
It’s never a good sign when: You get up in the morning and the foremost thought in your mind is, “Man, I can’t wait until the end of the day so I can go to bed.”
I followed PA 989 out of Ambridge, thinking that it was actually a nice day for a drive. I watched the sun come up, thinking (in a somewhat sado-masochistic way) that I missed this from when I used to drive a truck: watching the light slowly grow over the treetops.
As I drove, my low fuel light came on. I debated whether I wanted to wait to fuel until I got to Harmarville.
I decided to fuel before getting on the Turnpike, a decision that probably prevented a bad morning from getting completely hellish.
On Freedom-Conway, I belatedly realized that I was passing a gas station. By the time my sleep-fogged brain registered it, and I slowed down enough — I couldn’t make the turn into the final driveway, due to construction.
I continued on, and hit the Shell station, the last station before getting on the ‘pike.
I got on the turnpike, at some point my brain went into auto-pilot. However, where I was auto-piloting myself, I have no idea.
I passed an exit, and had a niggling flash of, “Oh, that looked somewhat familiar. Did I miss my exit? Nah….”
Then I passed over a big bridge over a big river. All the while, I’m thinking, “Errr… I don’t think I remember that from the last time….”
It all looked vaguely familiar. I’ve been to the gun show out here in Harmarville twice. Beyond that, I seldom travel this section of the pike. I’d been out this way to Irwin once, and it’s the way I take to drive to Northern Virginia.
All in all, a route that I’ve taken just often enough to have it be slightly familiar — not completely new, but not often enough to really know where I’m going.
I pass a service plaza.
Again, I’m thinking, “I don’t know that I remember that…”
I come to the exit for 376. I know this isn’t the exit, so I go to the next one.
I have a moment of utter panic when I see a sign that says, “Next Exit 63 miles.” Then I realize that it in fact is warning me that the next service plaza is 63 miles.
I finally arrive at the Irwin exit. As I’m coming off the ramp, I realize this is most definitely not where I want to be.
All the same, I ask the toll attendant the best way to get back to Harmarville: Pull a U-turn and re-enter the turnpike.
I get back on the turnpike. Amazingly, I can still admit to myself that it is a nice day for a drive. I decide that my exit must have been the Pittsburgh exit after all. The next exit is ten miles up, so I’m calculating 20 miles out of my way — not too bad.
I jump off at the Pittsburgh exit — realize that this still is not right. I ask the toll attendant — I have to keep going west one exit.
I have managed to go not one, but two exits out of my way. Not 20 miles, but 40 miles.
Just Shoot Me Now.
I make another U-turn, and get back on the turnpike.
I return back to the Allegheny Valley exit, sure enough — this is it. No wonder that it looked familiar when I passed it 30 minutes ago.
I’m realizing to be thankful for small favors. What if I hadn’t been prudent, and not filled up my tank before getting on the turnpike?
I finally arrived at 07:15.
I find another small blessing in that I am able to find a parking space right across from the check-in door, although I am seething with the knowledge that I would have been here at 6:40 if my brain had been paying attention to where I was.
I guess it all turned out for the good, because I was able to get my table set up (mostly) before the show opened.