The class was in the Houston Heights area, 19 miles from my house. On the planet Houston that's just up the road a bit. The class started at 7 so I decided to leave my house at 6:15 just to be on the safe side. I'm in the Heights area at least once a week and it usually doesn't take me but maybe 20 minutes to get there, but I wanted to play it safe since you just never know what could happen.
For instance, there could be an accident that might cause the traffic on one of the few highways I'm familiar with to be rerouted. And that's exactly the hellish nightmare I faced tonight. I left my house at 6:20, a little later than I wanted to but still in plenty of time to drive 19 miles and arrive at my destination by 7:00. Just before I was about to turn on to 290, the overly perky radio gal started talking about an accident on 290 and how the road was closed from Fairbanks to Antoine.
I'm still a long way from being able to drive very far without Google Maps pulled up on my phone, but I was familiar with the streets she mentioned and I was heading straight for them. I know Fairbanks North Houston because that street turns into Blalock where the MAM thrift store is and I like to visit there pretty regularly. Me and Antoine go way back because that's the exit I take to get to IKEA.
Then the radio gal went on to say that the traffic on 290 was being rerouted. Rerouted? REROUTED??!! Oh HELL no!! I've lived in Houston for practically 10 minutes! I simply CANNOT be rerouted! This was unacceptable and I had to put a stop to it. I quickly grabbed my phone and pulled up Google Maps (very carefully since yes, I was still driving) and saw that if I stayed on the access road I could turn on Hempstead which runs parallel to 290 and take that almost all the way to my destination.
I thought I was a freaking genius! I was so proud of myself and felt more Houstony than ever before as I headed for Hempstead while all those other poor suckers got on 290 and faced being rerouted through God only knows where. I was also very pleased with myself for not only having a full tank of gas but also for having remembered to bring along my emergency rations: a bottle of water and a package of Twizzlers. I don't ever want to repeat what happened the last time I was stuck in traffic for over an hour. I had plenty of gas in the tank but I hadn't eaten anything all day and got so hungry that I ate an entire box of Altoids. I had curiously strong heartburn for 2 days after that.
Shortly after I turned onto Hempstead I realized I was not so much of a genius after all. All those poor suckers on 290 that I'd made fun of a few minutes ago were now in front of me since 290 traffic was being rerouted onto Hempstead. It wasn't my first serving of humble pie today and it probably won't be my last.
On a side note, does anyone know what I'm supposed to do with a red light that has 2 red arrows?? Do I stop and wait for it to turn green? If so, why does it have arrows? Do I stop, look, then go? If so, then why would there need to even be a light there? I've come across this several times and I'm very confused about it. They didn't have these kind of street lights in Louisiana. They did however hang lovely advertisements from the street light if it had somehow changed. One light went from having one left turn lane to two lanes and they hung a sign from it that said "NEW!!" like you'd see in the grocery store next to the Oreo's that have a chocolate cookie on one side and a vanilla cookie on the other. I never can remember what those are called so I just call them multicultural Oreo's.
Hempstead is an armpit of an avenue. I wouldn't call it seedy but it certainly isn't attractive either. It's very industrial complete with railroad tracks running alongside it. There aren't many reasons to stop anywhere on Hempstead unless you want to hit happy hour at a strip club or buy some concrete statuary. I don't even know the name of it but it's one of those places that has tons of tacky concrete statues and urns and benches and animals. Prominently displayed in the very front of their lot are 2 life size concrete gorillas that nearly made me cause Hempstead traffic to be rerouted.
I tried really hard to get a picture but the guy behind me was honking and even though I couldn't hear him I'm pretty sure he was yelling some ugly things at me. I wanted to go back after the class to get a picture of the gorillas but Karma was already out to get me and I figured if she didn't Jayson probably would. For some reason he doesn't like it when I wander around on dangerous streets in the middle of the night.
|Are you done yet??|
What entertained me so much about these statues is their placement. The silver back on all fours is directly in front of the standing gorilla. Are you tracking with me? Surely I can't be the only one who has noticed that it looks like these two gorillas are having an intimate moment right there on the side of the road! It was so hilarious that it made my ONE HOUR drive more tolerable. Yes, it took me an hour to drive 19 miles but my Dian Fossey moment was worth it.