I thought I would share this story, which I put on Facebook as a post the night this happened. Writing it was part of me processing the whole afternoon's events. It seemed to appeal to people, as the post received 44 reactions and about 40 comments. That's more than any of my posts, ever. Have you ever had an afternoon like this?
12:45pm: leave home to drive an hour to Canberra Airport to catch a plane to Sydney for a workshop tomorrow.
2:30pm: get on tiny Virgin weeny plane with the loudest vibrations you have experienced in your life, even after the flight attendant hands out earplugs. Get off plane disoriented and a little frazzled.
4:00pm: catch train to Central. 4:25pm: catch train to Saint Leonards station.
4:45pm: walk out of Saint Leonards train station on to Pacific Highway. Look at Google Maps and follow directions to turn left for a 15 minute walk to your hotel.
Walk for 15 minutes enjoying the scenery, but not enjoying the constant sirens and traffic, because your ears are still dead from the aeroplane.
Check phone to make sure you haven’t missed the hotel and see that phone is dead.
Keep walking and after about 10 blocks realise you have walked for one hour and still not seen the motel.
Ask a kind stranger to look it up on his phone and listen as he gives directions 600 m back the way you came. Follow directions uphill pulling heavy suitcase of workshop manuals and materials.Turn down the side street the kind stranger mentioned and find yourself at the back of the Mater Hospital.
Start to think you are in the wrong place.
5:45pm (now in the dark): Ask two nice girls sitting in a car where the hotel is. The nice girls look it up and tell you It’s 25 minutes walk from here. Fuck that, you say, I cannot walk another five minutes. Nice girls suggest that you could walk back to the Mater hospital reception and get them to call you a taxi. Thank girls and walk away before you start crying.
Struggle up steep hill, pulling, dragging and swearing at heavy suitcase. Make it to Mater reception ready to collapse. Start to think that if those nice girls were really nice, they would have given you a lift up the hill to the Mater, or better yet to the hotel.
When Mater receptionist asks if he can help you, burst into tears. Ask for glass of water. Be literally unable to speak when second receptionist asks if she can be of assistance, and just stare at her helplessly. When water arrives and you can talk, start crying again. Finally manage to ask receptionist to call a taxi.
6pm: Get in taxi. Nearly get hand smashed by boot while putting your second bag in as the taxi driver is paying no attention. Get treated like an idiot for 10 minute drive because you went the wrong way and you shouldn’t trust Google maps in the city. Be just too tired to argue with patronising taxi driver.
Recognise all the buildings on the drive back that you already walked past. Recognise the train station and realise that you should have turned right, not left to begin with. Thank you Google Maps.
6:15pm: Arrive at hotel and wonder how the kind stranger sent you on such a goose chase to a non-existent hotel, considering he looked it up on Google Maps. Realise that if you had driven your own car to Sydney, you would have got to the hotel about three hours earlier. Vow never to fly to Sydney again. Wait in line to check in, wobbling slightly.
6:25pm: Collapse on bed for five minutes.
6:20pm: Shower, order room service (pictured), eat delicious meal and drink some wine.
7:30pm: Turn on computer on to start three hours’ worth of editing that was due today and you thought you might get done on the plane and the train. HAHAHAHA
9:30 pm: Give up trying to work after falling asleep in front of computer for the past 30 minutes. Go to bed, turn on meditation sleep music and crash.
p.s. If you ever book in to the Urban Hotel in St Leonards, note it is NOT behind the Mater Hospital, no matter what the kind (and obviously deranged) stranger tells you.