As I write this I sit with my head in my hands experiencing the deepest of shame. Let me tell you where I was around 19:00 on Monday evening: Sitting in McDonalds Tyger Manor, consoling myself with a Quarter Pounder Deluxe meal and speaking to Chantelle on the phone. But hang on a minute, you find yourself ask me – “Aren’t you meant to be at karate practice on a Monday evening, starting 18:30?”.
Why yes, that is exactly where I was meant to be. But let me tell you my story of woe. First, it all started out with simply dreadful traffic trying to escape from Westlake through to Muizenburg. However, this was only the beginning because as I got to the giant circle connecting to Baden Powell, I finally saw what was causing the long delay – a fire engine with its red lights flashing, indicating that the coastal road was now well and truly closed. Bugger.
So forced back towards the M5 direction as were the rest of the evening’s commuters, I discovered that my detour route that would take me around the closed off section of Baden Powell was also blocked thanks to a pedestrian that had been run over earlier, his body still lying under the tarpaulin and the cops cordoning off the area. Double bugger.
Right, no problem though, I reckon if I just head up to the M5 and connect on to the N2 it will take me home, though I’ll most likely miss karate now thanks to the heavy traffic flow. So out came the TomTom GPS and I sat back frustrated, listening to the radio in the hopes that someone on air could cheer me up. Nobody did.
But it gets worse you see. Confident in my own navigation abilities (you see the mistake I made there?) and realising that the TomTom will charge better if I turn it off, I flicked the switch on the GPS and turned over to manual mode, happily cruising along the fairly traffic-free M5 until I found myself happily driving down the… N1.
Yup, I’d forgotten to crossover onto the N2, meaning I was now well and truly on one hell of a detour. Cursing my bad sense of direction and memory, I whipped out the TomTom and calculated that the quickest way to recover from my error would be to do a u-turn via the Sable Road offramp at Century City and then head back towards the M5 and hop onto the N2.
No problem, I took the offramp, did the turn and headed back along the N1 towards the M5 turnoff only to be stopped dead in my tracks in a long line of cars that literally seemed destined to be stuck in that lane forever. Cursing my luck (and bad sense of judgement), I pulled out of the M5 turnoff lane and headed up higher in the hopes to work my way back down towards the N2, only to die of shock when I realised that the offramp I took was one that took me towards Paarden Island, in other words the complete opposite direction of where I wanted to be!
And TomTom wasn’t helping either. At this stage the GPS was trying to force me to turn left in a right-only lane road, meaning I was now well and truly stuck, driving to Milnerton along the coast. Bugger it! By this time I was nearly in tears and so decided Fuck it, I’ll just take the bloody N1 and drive it all the way through Bellville and then head back home that way, which I did, but not before the route to get back on the N1 took me all the way up towards Cape Town again.
And so, running out of fuel, feeling very sorry for myself (never mind furious at my own ineptitude), I pulled off into Bellville, put in fuel, gave a woman begging at the side of the road with her baby R20 in an attempt to make me feel better about myself and then pulled a pitstop maneuver at Tyger Manor, where I chowed my sorrows at McDonalds while listening to Chantelle laugh hysterically to herself as I recounted my shameful tale to her.
I tell you, not even good old Creme Soda could cheer me up.
Oh, and to top it all off, I was forced to come to a screeching halt by slamming on my breaks in order to stop for a lost Rottweiler that decided to cross the road in front of me. Needless to say, I was not impressed when I finally walked into our pad just after 20:00 the evening!
Sigh. I really am the world’s worst when it comes to sense of direction, aren’t I?