It was just another ho hum day at work. Or so I thought. Got up at 6AM...took my long commute of 10 steps into my office. Worked a few hours. Then left for a business lunch. Now, understand... I rarely go to lunch with associates because I live far enough from the advertising hub that it would keep me out of the office for too many hours. So this was a rarity. And a welcome break from the routine doldrums.
I gave myself an hour and a half for a drive that should only take 45 minutes. I got on the freeway and traffic was moving along at a steady pace. Unheard of for a Friday afternoon. I felt relieved knowing I would get there on time. It was a gorgeous day outside, I was singing in the car, checking out the other commuters, feeling pretty good...and 45 minutes later, to the minute, I exited the freeway at my destination.
And then BAM! I got off the freeway ramp and the cars were at a standstill. I thought...ok...this makes sense. Lunch time on a Friday afternoon, beautiful day out, people leaving work early, yadda yadda yadda. But as I sat in traffic on the surface street, waiting for the light to turn green, I heard the whirring of a helicoptor’s rotors. I looked up through the sunroof and there it was hovering overhead. I didn't think much of it but after a minute or two, I realized it was quite loud for only one copter. When I looked up again, there were two more circling the area directly above me. Uh oh...3 choppers...hovering over me...not a good sign. Since I knew I wasn't guilty of anything, that meant something ominous was going on around me. Oy vey!
I called my co-worker who was meeting me, to let him know I was now going to be late. 100 yards from my destination and NOW I am running late.
"Hi George...I'm right near the restaurant but they are diverting all the cars away from that direction. Do you know what's going on?" "Oh, yeah...there's a murderer on the loose." he said so nonchalantly. "I'm sorry...I must have a bad connection. What did you say?" "There's...a...murderer...on...the...loose. They are searching for him. They closed down 3 schools and cordoned off the area."
You have got to be kidding me! I wanted a diversion from my everyday work routine but I didn't ask to be part of Starsky and Hutch.
"Ok...well, I'll be there as fast as I can. We aren't moving too quickly. See you soon." [I hope]. I sat at the light for about 15 minutes and finally they guided me in the opposite direction of where I needed to be. Great! Having no sense of direction I started to panic. I knew I would be getting totally lost. I was hoping to make a U-turn and just back track...but nooooo. The cops had me turn left onto some side street. I just followed the traffic and proceeded to.......stop. Again. I then sat for a half hour trying to figure out how to get back to the main street where the restaurant was. I called George to tell him and the others to start eating without me.
I was sitting in front of an elementary school where there was no sign of activity. It was obvious this was one of the schools on lock down. Every passer-by was a suspect to me. And there were quite a few pedestrians walking by. I became a Profiler. He's wearing a beanie...should I call 9-1-1? He's walking his kid in a stroller. I doubt he's a murderer. He's got tattoos and low-rider pants, looking a little shady. Should I call 9-1-1? Being the ex-wife of a cop, I'm sure I am an expert on profiling. How cool would it be if I nailed this perp! Yeah...like that's gonna happen. I'm so chicken shit I made sure all my windows and doors were locked and closed the sun roof.
So after about a half hour I finally made it back to the main street but then they diverted me even further away. I tried to circle around and circumvent the blocked off area but ended up right back in the same place. Like I said, when they gave out a sense of direction...they skipped over me.
My cell rang. "Hi George". "Where are you?" "Um...in the same place I was when we talked a half hour ago". "You haven't moved?" "Well...yes. I did. But I circled around and turned back onto the same street I was before." "How did that happen?" "Um...you know that phenomena they call a sense of direction?" "Yes." "Well...I ain't got one! Nada, nothing, zilch. I believe they did a recall on mine."
So there I sat for another half hour. The news vans were all over the place. I asked one of the cameramen from NBC if he knew what was happening. "Yeah...there's a murderer on the loose." No shit, Sherlock. "But do you have any update?" "We heard they're close to capturing him." Well...that's good news, I guess. Let's just hope the capture isn't right outside my car. Gunshots were the last thing I wanted to be dodging. I slid down as far as the steering wheel would allow me to go. Forget about panicking about getting lost...getting murdered moved to the top of that list.
Finally, traffic started moving. I slid back up so I could see over the steering wheel, made it onto the main street and proceeded to go in the direction of the restaurant. YAY. I proceeded to drive right past the restaurant. UGH. I went down to make a U-turn and was driving back and they diverted me again due to construction. It was ridiculous. Two and a half hours later I finally got there! Next time I'll remember to leave ample time for a murderer on the loose. We had a lovely lunch and I went home.
I was watching the news that night to see what the whole story was. I was hoping the cameraman captured me on tape but he didn't. Another failed opportunity at stardom. And as I was watching the story unfold, there's the mug shot of the murderer. You know my tatted up low-rider pant wearer shady guy? Yup...that was him. I coulda been a hero! I coulda been a victim. I coulda just stayed home and not gone to lunch. Just another ho hum day.