Anyone who knows me knows that I’m directionally challenged. I get lost while going not only to new places, but to places I’ve been before. I used to hate this about myself, but I’ve come to embrace it. It makes for some interesting experiences.
This past Thursday night, my friend Amy (who lives about five blocks away from me) was having a birthday potluck, so I bought a bakery-made rum cake and a card and headed over to her place for a night of fun and friendship. When I showed up at the appointed hour, what I thought was Amy’s door was wide open. Although I seemed to be the first to have arrived, I could hear voices coming from the backyard.
I knocked. “Hey! It’s me! Can I come in?”
A gentleman I didn’t recognize (but I’m almost as bad with faces as I am with directions) popped his head out from the kitchen. He was a short older gentleman in his late-fifties, early-sixties, with a wide smile and protruding gray and black nose hair.
“Hi!” The man seemed excited to see me.
Maybe, he was Amy’s father. Or another relative. An uncle, perhaps…
Whoever he was, he certainly appeared at home. “Come in,” he invited.
I entered. We chatted. I made myself comfortable by looking around.
“How are you connected to Amy?”
By then, the man had put my cake down on the kitchen table and we’d made enough small-talk for me to know his name and occupation.
“Is everyone out back?”
He frowned. “You mean Mary?”
“Oh no. I don’t know Mary. I only know Amy and her husband, Lance.”
“The birthday girl…”
It turned out I was at the wrong house. The right number, but the wrong street. Luckily, the man with the nose hair – and the willingness to open his home to unknown cake-carrying women – was nice about it. He told me how to get where I’d originally intended to go. And I managed to successfully make my way to the party. I was late, but the experience had given me a story, which, for a writer, is pretty much the best thing there is.