Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nerves of Steel

Last Friday, I drove to Memphis to visit my oldest and dearest friend who is in dental hygiene school. I was so excited to see her since we hardly ever get to because school rules our lives.

I printed out directions because nobody wants to get lost in Memphis during rush hour traffic, and I set out for the even bigger city.

Now, Little Rock traffic is no biggie for me. I can pretty much navigate it with my eyes closed. People in Arkansas are pretty predictable as far as their driving habits are concerned: If it rains, we stop. If a car is pulled over on the shoulder with its flashers on, we stop. If state troopers are spotted, we slow way down as in 15-20 miles under the speed limit or stop. (I'm sure they hate that).If there are wrecks, we stop. Traffic will be bumper to bumper coming down 430 and 630 at 7:30 A.M. and 5 P.M. no matter what.

Memphis is a completely different ball game. My friend forgot to mention that I would be driving through the old Memphis. As I was getting off the old bridge, I had to exit immediately onto I-55 South going toward Jackson, MS. My handy-dandy Google map informed me that I was to take exit 289. First exit I saw was 7. I thought I had completely screwed up.

There were cars everywhere. The area was run-down and scary. There was an abandoned train yard to my left, where I'm sure someone was shot. On right were old warehouse buildings looking too much like gloom and doom. Not my cup of tea, especially when you don't know what you are getting into.

So I called my friend and started spitting out exit numbers and street names. She said, "I don't know the names of streets, Ashten. Just take exit 289." I said, "I just passed exit 3 this can't be right." She said, "Call Vicky!"

At the time, I didn't know Vicky was the Direction Queen. So I called my own personal version of a direction queen, my momma! Thankfully, she helped me figure out that I was on the right road going the right way. She told me there would be another place where I would have to merge and that I would start seeing signs for Southaven.

I did not realize that merging in this case would mean merging into crazy traffic with 8 lanes of pure hell. I hate the feeling of not knowing what to expect and then getting a BIG surprise when it happens. It felt like one of those times. Cars were zooming by me like I was sitting still, and clearly I wasn't. I was driving 70 with my hands at 10 and 2, praying the whole time I would get to my exit and not end up in a body bag. Seems a little over-dramatic, but seriously abandoned train yard....umm no thank you.

I'm surprised I didn't have a panic attack. And I don't have panic attacks, never have. It just seemed like the opportune time for me to have my very first one. Thankfully, I didn't, and I made it to her house without anymore major hang-ups.

Saturday was productive. My friend cleaned my teeth for four straight hours. Like I said, she is in school so she has to be meticulous and make sure she covers all the bases of a dental check and teeth cleaning. Although I got the flossing lecture, I was in pretty good shape. No cavities. Nice pearly whites.

She gave me dental sealants to prevent any future cavities in my uber-groovy molars. And then we went to eat, and then I found myself back on the road again.

Moral: I have nerves of steel.

Reasons I know this:
  • I endured 6 hours of interstate driving to a place I had never driven before and survived the 8 lanes of terror. (BTW, the 8 lanes of terror should be a scary ride at Six Flags).
  • I endured a 4 hour dental check up and teeth cleaning. Sidenote---it's safe to say I'm not fond of the dentist and all the teeth scraping. Hands down, one of the worst sounds ever.
  • I did 4 days worth of homework in 2 days. This included a 2 question essay test (which turned out to 9 pages printed), a historical discussion paper and reading, a bibliography for a 25-page paper I haven't had time to work on, numerous reading assignments in all the classes, and the ever-dreaded online homework from hell.
Yep, nerves of steel people. Nerves of steel.

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