Under the Wire

You can take … this city


You can take the boy out of the country but ... you can’t teach him how to drive in the big city.

It seemed like a simple task. All I had to do was attend a meeting in lower downtown Denver. LoDo, they call the area. Before this project was over, I’d re-named it.

Over the phone the directions seemed easy enough. I-25 south to Speer, Speer to 15th, left on 15th, etc, etc. It couldn’t be any harder than directions in our town. You know, left at the grain elevator, go down the street to where the pavement ends and follow the creek. Nope, nothing different except perhaps for the fact we would be maneuvering in LoDo at 50 miles per hour, bumper to bumper with people who have a total disregard for traffic lights, pedestrians and guys wearing cowboy hats driving beat up pickups. Sue went with me because, honestly, it was easier than worrying what kind of trouble I might get into if I went by myself. Simply put, I don’t do well in cities. I’ve proven that quite a few times.

Finding I-25, the main North/South freeway through Denver was easy. From then on it wasn’t so easy. Our directions were based on going South on I-25. We missed the first turn (didn’t see the sign) so we came back through town North bound. This immediately voided all references to turning left or right and became turn West, East or whatever. With tall buildings all around I couldn’t see the mountains. In Eastern Colorado they’re always in the West but without them, I was in big dooky.

My co-pilot kept distracting me with suggestions to turn this way or that. I ignored most of them much to her disapproval. I’m happy to report we are still married although we did get divorced (in theory anyway) three times during this trip through Denver. Without going into details, let’s just say we were meeting with no success. OK, I had us lost ... bad.

We were cellular equipped so Sue called the lady that was to meet us. When she answered Sue pushed the phone at me and said, “Here you talk to her.”

“Ma’am”, I asked, “do they ever move these buildings around here because nothing seems to be like our instructions?”

“ Tell me where you are and I’ll talk you in”, the very patient lady offered.

“Well, right now I’m behind a bread truck, on a dirt road, crossing an unmarked intersection in a pretty seedy looking section of town.”

There was a heavy sigh over the phone before my new friend Lou answered, “Sounds like you’re in an alley somewhere. Get back on a street.”

I followed her advice and turned onto the first street I saw. There wasn’t exactly an intersection there but I didn’t leave bad tracks across lawn. “Now follow the street until you come to Cherry Creek. Cross it. By the way, use the bridge.” She had learned very quickly to be specific with me.

“After crossing the creek, watch for 15th street,” she instructed.

Yep, I saw the sign as we drove by it about that same moment. I sort of hated to break the news to our version of air traffic control, but she was our only hope of ever getting out alive.

To shorten this story let me say after 20 very scary minutes for Sue, I and about 4,000 Denver drivers and pedestrians (including one bag lady who is now in need of a new shopping cart), we found our location. Our new found best friend was standing in the street to flag us down (gutsy lady). She pointed out our parking spot and was much more gracious and understanding than I ever would have dreamed. It turned out she was from a small town in Montana and understood my lack of “street smarts”.

Yes sir, you can take the boy out of the country ... but it’s not a good idea!


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