Friday, June 7, 2013


Last week I had lunch with Stimey. It was awesome. We had been planning it for about a month and when we first started discussing it I offered to come to her side of the beltway, as she had previously documented her displeasure at having to cross the Potomac.

Granted, her prior crossing the Potomac experience was for something much less fun than lunch with me, so I shouldn't have been teasing her. Especially since she did end up coming to my part of town for our lunch date. (Thanks again!!)

Now, while I cross the Potomac on a pretty regular basis, it is always heading east to the beach, or north to Baltimore. I rarely go west on the beltway and almost never continue on in that direction, into Maryland. In the 4+ years I've lived inside the beltway I've been to Montgomery County exactly once. Well, after yesterday, exactly twice.

Jen Lancaster was in town yesterday for a reading and signing to promote her new book, The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog. I'm a big fan of Jen's books and I've gone to her signings when she's come through town each year that I've lived here. Usually they are at the B&N in downtown DC. This year, it was in Bethesda.


Bethesda is not even 15 miles from my office, but it might as well be on the other side of the country for as much of a hassle as it was to get there and back.

I knew I was in for a slow trip, leaving work around 5 pm, but I was feeling optimistic. I headed north along the scenic GW Parkway, where I got to really take in the scenery, look at all the trees and all their branches and all their leaves. Really, look at them.

Because you have time for things like that when traffic comes to a complete and total standstill with five miles to go until you reach the beltway. I drifted along, (really, just drifted, no foot on the gas) pretty much from that point until I reach my destination, 54 minutes after starting my drive.

I arrived in Bethesda and attempted to find parking. Of course I missed every turn into the shopping center complex, which was one of those fake cityscape type places. An outdoor mall built to make you feel like you are just in an urban environment. With garages here and there, and apartments above the retail space. I made my way around the exterior, finally finding a garage I could pull into, parked my car and then took the elevator back up to street level. Where I discovered the drizzle had turned into a pretty steady rain. And that my parking spot was a solid 2 blocks from the B&N where the reading was.

Once I got inside, I was happy to be there.

Jen was highly entertaining as usual, answering questions, telling stories and reading from her book. She is so gracious when it comes to the signing, taking time to chat with each person, pose for photos and sign as many books as you'd like. Of course, that makes the line seem to last forever, but... it's still pretty cool.

Then, a little before 9 I headed out to leave. I needed dinner and while there were an abundance of restaurants in the faux downtown I was in nothing appealed to me and I had Chipotle on the brain. I googled and saw that one was located not too far away, so I headed that way.

Of course, I was in the wrong lane when I needed to turn. And then my gps kept telling me to make a U turn or turn left, but there were lots of signs telling me not to do that. I finally realized the signs where for certain times of day, made my U turn and got my dinner.

Next up, the drive home. I decided to go through the city, versus navigating my way back to the Beltway. Yet again being in the correct lane was a challenge. Not getting cut off by taxis was also a challenge. Buses drifting into my lane were a challenge. Rain was a challenge. Construction cones were a challenge. The whole dang drive home was a challenge. While I knew where I was the whole time, I was on pretty major roads, I still wasn't actually completely comfortable with my route until I was about 3 miles from home.


In the end, I didn't really enjoy my trip to the other side of the Potomac.

Total and complete karmic retribution for teasing my pal Stimey.

1 comment:

  1. In your defense, you were very kind when I was REALLY late for lunch.

    Bethesda *is* kind of a nightmare. And I've been stuck in that trying-to-get-to-495N off of GW Parkway line before and it SUCKS.

    It's like the Potomac has magical powers to curse you when you cross it.