Off The Beaten Path: Thelma and Louise Take A Road Trip To Da Burgh!
I have been blessed with several good friends who are well… they are crazy and unpredictable, just like me. I have had many wild and wacky antics with them over the years.
I recently purchased tickets to a photography workshop in Pittsburgh for a friend who shall remain nameless in order to protect her innocence and myself. (Ok, it’s Tammy!) I know what you are thinking – how can two middle-aged camera buffs get into trouble attending a photography workshop. I thought the same thing. But hey, it’s Pam and Tammy!
We were well prepared for our mid-morning class: we both loaded our camera bags with our DSLR cameras and our myriad of lenses. We charged up our camera batteries and stocked up on extra memory cards. I checked, double-checked and then triple-checked that I had our tickets in my purse. Tammy texted to get the address of the hotel to put in her GPS. All systems were set to go.
We met at the local Park ‘N Ride lot so we could carpool for the 1-hour trip into the city. We had a great time on the drive down – catching up on family news and events. I may have spent have the time bragging about my Granddaughter. The GPS unit instructed what exit Tammy should take so we could make it to our final destination and so she did merged into the right hand lane and did so. Easy peasy, huh?
It wasn’t. We were supposed to go to Bigelow Square - we somehow ended up in Oakland. Pittsburgh is in a perpetual state of construction – bridges out, roads closed, you name it – it’s happening. We were rerouted up a narrow, twisty road on a hill. That’s when I started to get concerned. “I think we are lost,” I told my friend. “Nah, we’re ok. I trust my GPS,” she replied.
I didn’t trust her GPS. I tried to activate the GPS on my iPhone. No go. I was desperate, so I sent out a call for rescue… to Siri. Siri and I have had a hate/hate relationship in the past. I soon learned that the relationship is still on. I asked Siri how to get to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. She snottily told me that my On Location GPS settings were off and that she couldn’t help me. Of course the settings were off – Geez Louise, I had been bombarded all week long with Facebook posting telling me to turn off the settings because bad people could trace my photos and snatch me and my loved ones. Sigh… what to do, what to do. As I was contemplating my options, Tam’s GPS had us facing a wall of rocks. I quickly turned on my settings and and she activated her onboard GPS.
That’s right – we now had THREE GPS units going at the same time. One GPS said to turn right, the other to turn left and the third one wanted us to drive through the wall of rocks. Tammy selected a fourth option – she started her own route. We ended up in the South Side. I wearily resurrected Siri and asked for directions. She spoke with a testy tone, “I don’t know what you are asking for, Steve.” Now that just plain ticked me off – when I set up my Siri options I was supposed to say my name but I was in the process of yelling at my spouse and Siri picked up on the word Steve and now refers to my by that name. I swore at Siri and told her that my name was not Steve. Siri replied that I shouldn’t talk that way and hung up on me.
By now we were back downtown. We thought we found the hotel but the parking lot was full. (I must mention that there was no phone number for the hotel or the workshop on the tickets and my requests to Siri for a phone number came up empty-handed. “I am sorry, Steve. I can’t find what you are looking for.”) We somehow ended up at Consol Energy Center. The parking lots were pretty much empty and we all like, “Sweet!” We could still slide into the class with about 3 minutes to spare. There was no one attending the lots so we couldn’t park. We left in search of other lots and ended up going the wrong way. My friend may or may not have made several U-turns. We find a parking garage, park and grab our camera bags and start running down the street. We couldn’t find the hotel. My friend stops two people and asks where the hotel is. They have no clue. We cross streets and an inebriated woman approaches Tammy. I am lally gagging behind and I silently implore my friend to NOT make eye contact. Sigh. She makes eye contact. “Can you help me?” asks the drunken person. Seriously, lady – you are asking two frazzled country bumpkins for help?! Tammy is gracious and explains that we are lost and can’t help her today.
At this point we realize that we are going to be late for the class – despite the fact that we had reached the city at 9:00 am. Tammy stops and looks in the dirty window of a smoke shop. “Please,” I telepathically communicate to her, “do not go into the head shop.” She keeps moving and instead tries to flag down two police cars. They ignore us. I guess we didn’t look that desperate and in dire need of assistance.
We retrieve the car from the parking lot and the three GPS devices all started to chant, “Recalculating, recalculating.” The next thing I know, we are on Rt. 28 headed out of the Burgh. All I can see is miles of red construction cones. I am having a hot flashes and my friend wants to make another U-turn. So we did what comes naturally to us – we ditched trying to find the class after 1.5 hours of driving around in Pittsburgh. We found a Bob Evans and ordered BOTH breakfast and lunch. As we were digging into our strawberry-banana crepes we started to giggle. The giggles turned into full-blown laughter. We laughed as we ate, paid our bill and got in the car to somehow find our way back home. The laughter turned into howls of hysterical glee on the drive home.
I texted my friend last night and said, “I had a great time today. Let’s do this again.”
Our photos will have to continue to be semi-sucky for the time being until we can find a class that we will actually be able to locate. We have thought up a great new business though – “Thelma and Louise’s Seedy Side of Pittsburgh Tours.” We definitely know what parts of town to look for now.