Saturday, July 01, 2006

I Finally Made it to Ohio

Yesterday was a long day. I left my house at 4:10 PM after leaving work early, and I planned to get to my parents' house in Ohio by 10-ish. I hit the normal slow traffic on the SW corner of 495, and then headed west on 70.

Since the drive usually takes me between 5 and 6 hours, I took this opportunity to make a number of phone calls to friends and family in Ohio to finalize weekend plans. My boss called during this time, and we talked for 20 minutes or so. After our conversation my phone gave me a "low battery" warning, and I promptly plugged it into my car charger. A short while later my sister called, and we talked for another 45 minutes, meanwhile traffic started slowing down on 70 west as I approached the 270 merge.

Somewhere during this time I realized that my phone charger wasn't actually working: no little green light, no "charging" screen on my LCD. I'm practically bumper to bumper in holiday traffic (who goes WEST for the fourth of July?); an hour into what is turning out to be a longer drive than usual; and my phone is near dead. Great. I actually tried playing MacGyver for awhile. I took the charger apart, saw a broken piece of plastic that might have been causing the problem, and I tried to use a vitamin and chewing gum to fix it. Yes, I am slightly embarrassed to tell you all this, but if I had actually gotten it to work, it would have been a damn good story. :)

At first I only thought that my situation was a mere inconvenience. But the longer I sat in traffic, the more I realized that I'd be driving later into the night than I had originally planned. I knew that I was most likely going to be on the road for a long while, and I hadn't started the trip very well-rested. It just made sense to have a working cell phone in case anything happened. I made a decision to hop off the highway somewhere near Hagerstown and find a Best Buy or Sprint store so that I could replace my charger.

Note to my readers: There is not a Best Buy anywhere near Hagerstown. Unless you live in Hagerstown and already know this, you're just going to have to take my word for it, because I looked. I drove up and down 40... no Best Buy. I drove all around the Prime Outlets... no Best Buy. I finally asked for help from a very nice woman standing in front of a nail salon, and she confirmed that the closest Best Buy was in Frederick (which I had already passed), and I wasn't about to backtrack.

My new friend (who liked my dog, by the way, so she earned extra points for that) gave me directions to Valley Mall, which I found easily, but the Sprint store near the mall was closed as it was after 7 PM by now. Again I pleaded with locals for assistance. An older couple knew there was a Sprint kiosk inside of the mall, so I parked the car, left the windows cracked for Antonio, and ran inside.

By this point my patience is waning, and the woman at the Sprint kiosk earned zero points when she looked at my phone with a twisted face and said, "how long have you had this thing?" I just glared at her. Even though my phone is only a year old, she had no idea what would work with it and told me that my best bet was Radio Shack. Thank God there was one in the mall, although it was clear at the other end. I must have been their easiest customer yesterday, because I walked in and said "I need help." The sales guy promptly sold me a $30 universal car charger. I'm such a sucker.

This has already been a long post, so I won't bore you with the details of the rest of the 5 hour drive. I needed more gas since I had burned up so much driving around, and I still had to stop for food. The McDonalds sign was a welcome sight in Breezewood. I was desperately trying to keep my brain occupied for the remainder of the trip. I even found myself listening to NASCAR for awhile. I finally pulled into my parents' driveway just after midnight, approximately 8 hours after I left Baltimore.


Blogger Heaving Melon said...

Glad you finally made it safe. Heard it was a good race :) I usually watch Nascar but forgot it was on. Enjoy yourself in Ohio.

July 01, 2006 1:22 PM  
Blogger Malnurtured Snay said...

You weren't driving when you were trying to fix your charger, were you?
Steering with your knees?

July 01, 2006 11:13 PM  

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