I had to drive to an elementary school in the area for an important meeting today at 12:30 pm. I googled the directions and planned my day carefully so that I could give myself plenty of time, “just in case” – you never know what could happen. My thinking was that I’d rather be early and sit in the school parking lot for twenty minutes than rush into a meeting late.
11:45 – I got to the school about 45 minutes early. The thought did go through my mind, “wow…this is a small school…I don’t see any cars parked but I guess all the parking is on the other side of the school.” I glimpsed at the name of the school on the wall and that confirmed to me that I was in the right place. I was so early that I decided to take a little walk down the main street of the town.
12:10 – I got back into the car and drove to the school. This time, as I turned into the driveway, I noticed a big chain hanging across the road, stopping access to the school. I figured there must be another way in so I drove up and down the roads, looking for another entrance. There was no other entrance, I looked at the time and I began to get frustrated.
12:14 – I took a good look at the school building from afar. This time, I noticed that many of the windows were boarded up.
THIS SCHOOL WAS CLOSED…NOT FOR THE DAY BUT FOR GOOD!
It was the right school…the name was on the wall…but no one was there. I had no idea what was going on – I have an appointment at a school that doesn’t exist!
12:16 – I headed to the nearest business building I could find, which happened to be a community health center. I walked in and there wasn’t a person to be found. I called out in desperation, hoping that someone would rescue me but no one did.
12:18 – As I exited the building, I saw an older lady trying to park her car on the shoulder of the road. She proceeded to back right into another car and then, she just sat there, motionless. I thought she was hurt so I ran to her car and asked her if she was OK. The lady watched my lips and then said, “I can’t hear you. I’m deaf” to which I signed back, “It’s OK. I can sign. Do you need help? ” (WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THAT?) The lady assured me that she was fine and when I asked about the car that she smacked into, she signed, “Don’t worry – that car belongs to my friend and she works in the health centre.”
12:23 – Now I had a choice to make – do I explain to the lady that no one seems to be working at the health center today or do I ask her if she knows anything about the abandoned elementary school. The clock was ticking so I opted for the second question.
“Oh, that school building has been closed for years. There’s a new building on the other side of town.”
12:25 – I managed a limp smile, signed “Thanks so much..I appreciate your help,” jumped into the car, raced across town and walked in the front door of the elementary school at 12:30, on the dot. I must have looked frazzled because the secretary asked me if I was OK. I told her about my bizarre experience and she responded with, “We’ve been in this building for six years and we don’t know how to get Google to change the address to our school. Our supply teachers arrive late all the time.”
…and THAT’S why you always give extra time for a “first time” destination! – crazy stuff happens…at least, it does to me!