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Sunday, June 15, 2003

Do You Know The Way?

So, on Friday, I was to attend a wedding for Kevin Lang, a good friend from Nextel days. I swapped shifts with a guy from work and took Friday and Saturday off in order to attend the wedding and do something for my sister's birthday on Satuday. The plan seemed simple enough that it just might work. But there were ominous signs along the way that the day was doomed. I started off running a few errands. I needed a mounting post bolt for my camera tripod and decided to hunt down this used camera store that is always advertising on the radio. I looked up the address in the yellow pages and then headed out. Driving down Hampden into Englewood, I quickly discovered that perhaps this could get sticky. Hampden turns into US 285 and I needed to figure out how to get onto the frontage road. Voila, a sign pointing me back to Hampden. I took a turn and then a wrong turn and the next thing I know I am lost in the scenic tiny burgh of Sheridan, home to ALL the tow trucks and impound lots in the Denver area, apparently. Up a few blocks, down a few blocks and - Ah ha! my way out - but no, still in Sheridan. I drove north, thinking I would pop out somewhere familiar. Finally I find a major through street and begin to head west again, hitting Federal. I turn south and wait for about 18 hours at a light as I try to make a left hand turn. Left hand turns have become like the plague. You try and try to avoid them but eventually, they come around and you must dive in, wait in line and make the turn. They truly are evil. Anyway, I am finally on West Hampden in Englewood. I get to the camera store, buy my part and for some unknown reason, place my credit card in my shirt pocket and head back home. The ride back was uneventful. Now it is a few hours later. I try ironing a shirt for the wedding, but the iron is on the fritz and chunks of rust pour out of it, onto a freshly laundered white shirt. Crap. I dig through the closet, find another shirt and take a moment to clean and prep the iron. Whew. I dress, affixing a new bow tie, polish up the cowboy boots, toss on a western jacket, grab my cowboy hat and head out. Looking like a musician playing in a Mexican Wedding band - a deliberate look to entertain the Bride and Groom. I decide to pull into the grocery store to get a card and a gift envelope for some wedding dough. Waiting line to check out I realize I don't have my Visa card - it is in my shirt pocket - Double crap. I leave the cards and head back out of the store to the car and run home to retrieve my credit card. I am going to need funds for the wedding bar, I was certain. Now time is short and I must leave for the wedding. I will deal with the card and stuff later. I drive up Speer Boulevard to the wedding, but in my credit card frenzy, I had left the invitation with the address on the coffee table back home. I had a general idea of where I was going and had time on my side so I figured I would just wing it. Another bad traffic move. Lost in north Denver, dressed like an extra from The Three Amigos , but unable to speak Spanish, I opted to drive around like an old man and just look for the Victorian Bed and Breakfast Mansion and the wedding party. No luck. Block after block I drove. Finally, with time running out, I pull into to a laundrymat to see if anyone can give me directions. They just stared. I convinced them to loan me a phone book. I would look up the address and be off. But the Lumber Baron Inn doesn't list its address in the phone book. Just a phone number. I memorize it and look for a phone. But in this blue collar, Spanish-speaking neighborhood, the pay phones are few to none. I wait in line behind some guy on the only phone I can find. Time has run out. I am officially late. I dial and get a message and then some directions and more importantly, all I ever needed, the cross streets. I am three blocks away. I get to the wedding, park and walk in. I am now 30 minutes late. The ceremony is already over. No Catholic wedding this. A few I dos, and they were done. I was forgiven by the groom and bride and sat to eat. The reception and dancing that followed were uneventful and quite pleasant. I decide to leave a bit early, as the party is breaking up and going downtown. Knowing my driving record for the day, I decide to leave before I get drunk and real problems follow. I drive out but am forced at Federal to turn right. The folks up here in this part of town are smart enough to forbid the egregious left hand turn. But that is what I need! I head north and then turn onto 38th and head back to south Denver, thinking I will take Park Ave.instead of Speer and all will be fine. But I get trapped in traffic and cant' get into the lane that pours onto Broadway. Instead I am now continuing down 21st street into the not-so-charming-after-dark Clement Park neighborhood and the housing projects. Lost again I turn around and find my way onto Broadway and finally home. Many lessons. 1. Take your directions when traveling to a wedding. 2. Perhaps full vintage western garb is not the best outfit to wear when trying to get a stranger to give you directions. 3. Never put your credit card in you shirt pocket. 4. Left hand turns are evil, but often necessary procedures. 5. Maybe I should rethink the decision not to replace my cell phone. I have gotten lost enough to last a good while.