An ice storm has moved through the South, so it seems like a good day for another post. In keeping with the “lost” theme, today we’re going to the Bronx.
After picking up pasta north of Des Moines, IA, I headed east toward the “Big Apple.” Once again, I had “excellent” directions from my dispatcher. They were, verbatim, as follows:
GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE TO WEBSTER
STREET EXIT. LEFT ON WEBSTER. LEFT
ON FORDHAM ROAD. AT AMOCO STATION
RIGHT ON ARTHUR
Not knowing if there would be any parking spots near my drop, and not wanting to drive around the Bronx until my 10 am delivery time, I waited until about 7 am to head across the bridge.
I crossed the GW, got off at Webster Avenue and followed it to Fordham Road. As instructed, I took a left on Fordham and started my trek through da Bronx. Block after block and still no Amoco gas station.
I crossed the Deegan Expressway and could see the Hudson River in the distance. I assumed that Fordham would end there. Another obstacle loomed in the closer distance – a low-clearance underpass.
A Hess gas station appeared on my right, so I pulled to the curb, set my brakes, pulled on my flashers, locked my truck and headed inside. I asked the clerk where Arthur Street was.
I assumed that he gave me excellent directions because he went on for about three minutes, complete with hand gestures. You can always tell good directions – they include many gestures and lots of pointing.
They may have been excellent, but I didn’t understand a single word he said. The only thing I got during that three minute monologue was that he kept pointing back in the direction from which I had just come. Not Good.
Luckily Fordham Road, while heavily traveled and congested, is a wide thorofare. Plenty wide enough to swing a 70-foot tractor and trailer around. My mind was racing. I could theoretically swing a U-turn, but there was so damned much traffic.
Fuck it! Let’s go for it. I hit my left turn signal and merged into traffic. Then I inched the nose of my truck into the next lane, blocking all traffic headed East. Amid blaring horns and angry gestures from the New York drivers, I swung the truck across the road and executed a perfect, if not highly illegal U-turn.
Back up Fordham Road. All of a sudden, Fordham disappeared. I was now on E 188th Street. Great!
I pulled into a “BUS ONLY” parking place, pulled on the brakes and flashers once again and headed to a pay phone.
“How do I get to where you are from where I am,” was the gist of my question. “Where the hell are you?” was the reply from the deliveree. “How the fuck did you get there?” followed my answer to his question.
“Man, you should have taken a right on Fordham, not a left. Go to the next light and take a left. Then at the next light, take a right on Fordham. Arthur is only a few blocks from there.”
Sure enough, once I crossed Webster Avenue, there was Arthur Street. Had I turned right instead of left on Fordham, I would have been there in 5 minutes, not the hour it actually took.
Dispatchers strike again!