August 17, 2006

Worst Meeting Ever (Or, How I Almost Got Shot)

I had a meeting in Maryland yesterday morning. As I live and work in Virginia, I only rarely have to head to Maryland for any reason. But I knew where I was going. I've visited my client there often. Compulsively early and expecting traffic, I left uber-early and, of course, made it there in no time. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot reviewing some of the meeting materials (I was supposed to lead this sucker) when my cell phone rang. It was my client. I just wanted to make sure you remembered that the meetings is at another office, he said. Fuck, I said internally. No, I didn't receive that message, I said for real. He told me where it was, asked me if I knew how to get there, I said no but I'd try my best and I'd seem him soon.

My little VW and I became one with the unknown road. Fahrvergnügen indeed. Fifteen minutes to spare and we jetted in the general direction of the meeting armed with a street address and no knowledge whatsoever of Maryland geography. This lack of knowledge became fairly transparent ten minutes later. When I found myself at a small municipal airport. It was there that I learned something very important.

See, unbeknownst to me, I'd driven down this dead-end road into the airport entrance from which there was no escape. And I was driving rather quickly. When I decided I might want to hang a u-turn, my tires might have squealed a bit (after all, I was late for a meeting and you know how I hate being late with ever fiber of my obsessive compulsive being). An outsider, not informed of my plight and hatred of tardiness, might have considered me and my vehicle a slight threat. These outsiders have names - the Transportation Safety Administration. You know, the dudes in uniform with large weapons who patrol our nation's airports on the lookout for hostiles to engage, shoes to inspect and bottled water to confiscate. Apparently, they thought I was acting just a little erratically. Little old me. And my VW. Fahrvergfucked.

Luckily for me, they stopped short of opening fire or scrambling a squadron of fighters or launching shoulder-fired missiles and evacuating the state of Maryland and grounding air traffic. Instead, they let me turnaround and go on my merry way. And I'm sure they had a nice laugh on my behalf. I did end up making it to the meeting, late, of course.

Posted by Chris at August 17, 2006 7:26 AM

Geez, TSA doesn't lettuce do anything anymore.

(I know, bad attempt at linking today's entry with yesterday's. It was the best I could do with no caffeine in my system).

Posted by: Alison at August 17, 2006 7:39 AM

Well, at least you didn't get fahrverg-shot, or fahrverg-stripsearched. Oh, and Hi! I missed reading you while I was gone in no-man's land! (I got fahrverg-screwed by the phone company)

Posted by: Contrary at August 17, 2006 7:44 AM

i've worked in rockville now for two years and i still have to mapquest everything. the saddest times are when i get directions that are about 2 miles and five minutes away. :sigh: you'd think i'd at least be able to manage that without directions, but sadly, you'd be thinking wrong. boo.

Posted by: pea at August 17, 2006 7:45 AM

Ugh, what a headache! A funny headache.

That's something that totally would've happened to me.

Posted by: Emily at August 17, 2006 7:47 AM

Being from Maryland originally, you just don't want to play such dangerous games.

On an unrelated note, may I share with you the German word for constipation?


(You opened that door and I HAD to go through it)

Posted by: Wicked H at August 17, 2006 7:47 AM

At least they let you go. Did they give you the correct directions?

I am compulsively early, too. Just think how late you would have been had you arrived at the original meeting place just in the nick of time!

Posted by: Alissa at August 17, 2006 7:48 AM

Since you know how to use the word "Fahrvergnugen" in the proper context and the President probably couldn't even pronounce it, you're clearly a terrorist. Uh...right?

Posted by: wordgirl at August 17, 2006 7:58 AM

stinks that that happened, but it made for a funny post. thanks for the morning laugh!

Posted by: Dolly at August 17, 2006 8:11 AM

Years ago when I lived on Cape Cod a friend wanted to see The Kennedy Compound. So off we went. I sort of knew where it was, but not really. I was driving around Hyannis looking around and an officer flagged me to stop. I rolled down my window, with my friend and baby in the car and the next thing I knew I had a gun pointed at my face!
Yep those Kennedy's love the "real" people a lot.

Posted by: Maribeth at August 17, 2006 8:16 AM

Fahrvergfucked. Must add to vocabulary list for this week.

Posted by: Heather at August 17, 2006 8:29 AM

I have no sense of direction unless the sun is rising or setting. I'd still be lost.

Posted by: ann adams at August 17, 2006 8:35 AM

heehee to Heather above. That was what I was thinking...

Posted by: suze at August 17, 2006 8:40 AM

Having a GPS doesnt necessarily help. My mom's GPS frequently sends her in circles (make a right, a right, a right and a right).

Everytime it does this we laugh at her of course.

Im glad you stayed alive.

Posted by: That Girl at August 17, 2006 8:43 AM

Glad you survived. That would have scared the shit out of me. I got lost on my way to a meeting yesterday too. Must have been that kind of day.

Posted by: Jessie at August 17, 2006 8:45 AM

oh man, wouldn't it have been fun if they detained you? especially if they cuffed you. it makes for such a great story.

Posted by: jodi at August 17, 2006 8:50 AM

The work I do sometimes I have to go to facilities like Lockheed Martin and other Government work areas and I always end up in the "No trespassing area". And ususally security just let's me on through.

Posted by: Bill at August 17, 2006 8:58 AM

Now don't take this the wrong way...but did you make it to the meeting with clean underwear? Because if that had happened to me I probably wouldn't have.

I can relate to the whole being early thing. I've always been that way which has caused much friction at my house, because Jose will probably be late to his own funeral.

Posted by: MrsJoseGoldbloom at August 17, 2006 9:05 AM

Just as well you didn't have an accent on top of that! I bet they would have shot me based upon the fact that my citizenship becomes a disability every time I merely enter the vacinity of an airport...

Posted by: E :) at August 17, 2006 10:08 AM

You know, really you were doing them a favor by making sure they were paying attention. And they passed the test so you should be proud of yourself for making sure that America is safe.

I get lost alot. Even if I have good directions, I have to get lost the very first time and then after that I'm good.

Posted by: Kitty at August 17, 2006 10:12 AM

Now THAT takes some talent. Very impressive. And I'm gonna have to figure out how to use Fahrvergfucked in my next meeting.

Posted by: Pammer at August 17, 2006 10:28 AM

Ooooh, lots more exciting than when I get lost!

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at August 17, 2006 10:31 AM

I think the TSA was probably admiring your passionate work ethic.

Posted by: Kristen at August 17, 2006 11:01 AM

I thought this story was going in the direction of the gangs of Maryland or something. Then I thought maybe we were going to get a good "I got chased by an airplane!" line. But the TSA? Far better. I can see them panicking, wondering what to do with the madman in the VW.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at August 17, 2006 12:10 PM

Wow... sounds like a great icebreaker for the meeting... LOL!

Glad you didnt' get shot, I would miss my Rude fix.

Posted by: Karen at August 17, 2006 12:16 PM

Well I'm glad it worked out in the end and you weren't shot and killed. That would not be a good ending to your story.

I drive a Prius with one of those nifty navigational screens and it tells me where I want to go. Literally, this nice lady voice (whom we fondly refer to as "Ellen") tells me every move I must make. "Right turn ahead. Then next left." I love it, I need it. I can't drive in a car without one now.

Posted by: Kate at August 17, 2006 12:46 PM

LOL! I would have been so scared!!

I hope the meeting wasn't too bad.

Posted by: Nadine at August 17, 2006 1:01 PM

Every single time my father drives to DC, he ends up at the airport. It's the only place he ever gets lost. My husband could get lost on our block if you turned him around three times.

As the Germans say, our feet are the same.

Posted by: Annie at August 17, 2006 1:12 PM

I'm sorry my state confused you! Now you know how I feel most of the time when I'm driving in VA. i'm very glad the TSA folks did not shoot you or your Volkswagen.

Posted by: bad penguin at August 17, 2006 1:22 PM

Rude Cactus: a threat to national security!!!

Posted by: Zandria at August 17, 2006 2:34 PM

We'll just call you the "Super Beetle" that got away . . .

Close call, Chris. Whew!

My best to Beth and the Bean!

Anni :-)

Posted by: Anni at August 17, 2006 3:05 PM

Duuude...I know how you feel. There's an exit near Williamsburg where if you go the wrong way - you end up at the gate for The Farm. It has no real way to turn around except through a phalanx (!) of stern dudes with M-16s. Those guards for the CIA training camp just DO NOT have a sense of humor. AT. ALL. pfft. Apparently they are not allowed to answer whether or not they like girls in Mustang convertibles or would they like to go to a party with them. Or so I've heard. hrrm.

Posted by: Sue at August 17, 2006 4:48 PM

That's why the DC area is such a bitch. Even when you're on time, you're not.

Posted by: Liz at August 17, 2006 6:24 PM

I think I would have said, "Screw the meeting, I need a do-over," and gone home sick. Not a good way to start the day!

Posted by: Beth in StL at August 17, 2006 8:36 PM

Once when my MIL was visiting to help me care for Lily while Mark was out of town and I was pregnant and working full time, I gave her directions to come visit me for lunch at work. She got very lost (my fault, I gave her the wrong exist) and ended up at the gate for a military base, sobbing in front of two dudes with machine guns. Luckily they decided she wasn't a threat and simply helped her find her way back to me.

Was the meeting itself good or was that hell as well?

Posted by: Elaine at August 17, 2006 10:17 PM

At least you had a good story to go with it. "I almost got shot getting here" sounds a lot better than "Sorry I'm late, my alarm didn't go off."

Posted by: SMIT at August 17, 2006 11:34 PM

Wow! Congratulations on your first ever late meeting! (Or is it the 1st ever?)

Posted by: Dee at August 17, 2006 11:44 PM


Whenever I see security/police staff, I IMMEDIATELY feel guilty. I don't know why, it's not exactly as if I robbed a bank (or, at least, the case was dropped as they had no proof, but that's another story...) but I do. I immediately feel guilty and panicked, and my mind floods with guilty, paranoid questions:

Are they looking at me?
I'm sure they're looking at me, why would they be looking at me?
Maybe I'm in trouble, what have I done to be in trouble?
Do they know about the time when I aimed an empty drink carton at a public bin, missed, and then DIDN'T PICK IT UP??
Did they hear me laughing at that none PC joke about the two Irishmen playing pool??
Did they see me dump my chewing gum in the bin WITHOUT WRAPPING IT UP IN A BIT OF PAPER FIRST??...

...And then of course I'm not stopped, and I feel stupid.

I don't know. Maybe I'm going to break the law sometime in the future: maybe my subconscious knows before I do and is letting my unaware conscience prick me whenever I see a person of authority.
Because it always happens. Always.

And by the by, regarding your qyestion: "There's no chance our kid's going to grow up normal is there?"

- Not a chance in hell.

And that is a good thing.


Posted by: Alice at August 18, 2006 6:02 AM

Meanwhile, someplace there's a woman who managed to smuggle vaseline, a screwdriver, and a note from Al Quieda (whoever he is) onto an airplane. Thank goodness they tackled her when the did. No telling what me might have done with that vaseline and screwdriver in the bathroom. Eew.

Posted by: Jon in Michigan at August 18, 2006 7:06 AM

Just like Sparkle Pants, I too thought you were driving through some ghetto of Maryland. And then had to ask the local Krypts (sp?) for directions. That or you got initiated into their gang. How cool would that be?! And it would make for a killer story! Hope today is going better ^_^

Posted by: Michelle at August 18, 2006 8:44 AM

LOL! You know you're lost end up at a small municipal airport! Ha!

I hate being late. But time is, like, against me. Even if I get ready super early. Something unseen force always keeps me from getting out the door. It's awful! It's so hard for me to be on time! And, I hate being late! I'm beginning to accept this about myself, though. That I am simply incapable of being on time. Usually, I'm only a few minutes late. But, still....

Posted by: haley-o at August 18, 2006 3:46 PM