The struggle continues (see Part 1)…
Needless to say, after I bashed myself in the face with my insulated Alabama cup (I’m still not convinced the thermos wasn’t acting maliciously), I missed the shuttle from my apartment complex. The next one on the route would put me more than 20 minutes late to class, and my car was surrounded by treacherous ice in the parking lot. So, I took the city bus. This would not have been a problem — I’ve taken this bus before. However, I’ve only gotten on at a particular stop on campus and ridden it home. I’ve never been the other way.
As a student at Alabama, it took me forever to gather up the courage to use UA’s bus system; I was always afraid I would take the wrong bus and end up on the wrong side of campus or in a place I’d never been. Once I grew more used to the campus (and downloaded an extremely helpful app), I was fine with taking the bus and that fear receded with each successful trip.
However, West Lafayette’s bus system is much larger and more complex than UA’s fairly simple campus-only bus routes. Plus, the windows are tinted, making it difficult to tell where you are at any given time. If it’s cloudy, snowing, foggy, or raining, it pretty much feels like you’re riding along in a shrouded box that only gains a visceral nature when it stops moving. As a reminder, this was the forecast on Wednesday:
This is how I missed my stop on campus. I had no idea where I was, and once I figured it out, it was too late to shove aside the person sitting next to me and make a beeline to the door. I pulled the “hey, let me off this thing!” cable and after driving another couple of miles non-stop (making numerous twists and turns along the way), the bus finally spit me out at a stop in front of a building I’d never seen before.
I had no earthly clue as to where I was. It seemed I was stranded miles from my building, and I didn’t see a single landmark I recognized. Figuratively speaking, I had been blindfolded, taken to a unfamiliar location, spun around, de-masked, and told to find my way to my destination.
I pulled out my phone and used my map app to give me a general idea of which direction to travel, but the only familiar street in my vicinity was the one where I stood. Some instinct told me I would need to cross the street, but I had no idea if I needed to move east or west to reach my building. Choosing to go left at random, I walked a few yards and was finally able to make out the sign at the cross street. This info told me I was heading the wrong way, so I plodded back in the opposite direction. I crossed the street, walked a little further….and then realized I was about a tenth of a mile away from the bus stop I missed. Apparently, the bus had turned down a few side streets, basically circling around and ending up on the opposite side of the road.
I walked into class at 9:30am on the dot, without a minute to spare.
But making it to class on time wouldn’t mark a bright end to my hellish day, which contained more troubling events than would fit into even two blog posts. Three should cover it, though, so stay tuned for the third and final part in A Series of Unfortunate Events: Part 3.