Notes and misadventures in adulthood (Chapter three)
Last night, I was privileged to go to the o2 (an events venue in London) to watch Chris Rock perfom his comedy set from his Total Blackout tour.
Chris of course, ‘rocked’ the house. I obliged in laughing my arse off.
I chose to drive to the venue, why am I highlighting this? (I’ll tell you even though you may not have asked, besides — it’s rhetorical) This is significant because for one, my navigational skills are weak — and for two, the last time I attempted to drive to this venue was six and a half years ago and it didn’t go well.
Back then, I had planned to meet a friend there, hang out for a while and maybe do lunch.
Here’s how it unravelled, and became increasingly complicated.
At the time, I was about five months pregnant with my second son. Pregnancy once again, was proving incompatible with my body. I was sick throughout alot, particularly suffering from motion sickness (I know you can probably see where this is going now, but hang with me for the ride).
The Sat Nav estimated the journey would take around thirty five minutes, so off I went. Surprisingly I was doing just fine, and sure enough — thirty minutes later I was fast approaching the venue.
My friend had just texted to say he had arrived, all good — I was practically on the doorstep.
I came to a spaghetti junction type of spot with forks in the road, instead of continuing straight ahead to the venue — I veered left and headed towards the Blackwall tunnel.
For anyone familiar with the area, once you are on that road — you can’t turn off and turn around (but then again, my navigational skills are incredibly unreliable — so maybe you can but I didn’t know how). So, five minutes later I was in the Blackwall tunnel. Now, the tunnel is maybe a mile long (my distance calculating skills, are also weak). I’m feeling increasingly nauseated, incredibly irritated and in need of the ‘ladies room’.
In my now anxious state, I exit the tunnel and keep driving the wrong way waiting for the Sat Nav to recalculate the journey and get me back on track.
‘Turn around when possible’, said the Sat Nav and I’m like ‘really, you think’ having just driven past the first available point to do so. My friend rings me ‘where are you?’ I explain how I missed my way, and then because I’m distracted by talking on the phone, (hands free, don’t @ me)needing the ‘ladies room’ and wanting to throw up whilst trying to listen to the Sat Nav and drive — I missed the second opportunity to turn around.
Onwards along this busy road I go, I’m now stuck in traffic left, right and centre. The Sat Nav repeats ‘turn around when possible’, but I see no upcoming turn just a sea of cars towards the horizon. The baby starts kicking me, or maybe it was just life — either way I was getting it in the gut.
I threw up a little, the blessing was that I was stationery and I had the good sense to have plastic bags onboard incase of such an episode.
Still, this was not going well.
Another call from my friend, as by now probably another thirty minutes had passed. ‘I’m going to have to go’ he said after I explained my ongoing situation. I apologise profusely, and resign myself to the slow crawl of the traffic.
Maybe fifteen minutes later, I’m chanced to turn around — I take the exit. Finally back on track towards the venue, I adjust my Sat Nav destination as I pass by the o2 and head home.
Six and a half years later, deciding to drive to the o2 again — brought this situation back to the forefront.
I was uncomfortable about doing this drive, but I knew I had to push through the anxiety somehow. Why? Because the other transport options were not appealing, and this was Chris Rock for whom I had waited nine years to return to the UK. Laughter, well it’s medicine for the soul.
I convinced myself, it would be fine — if I gave myself plenty of extra time.
I set off to collect my friend who lives ten minutes from me, when I arrive — she is not home.
I’m looking at the cars clock when I phoned her ‘where are you?’ Apparently, she is five minutes away. Twenty minutes later, she still hasn’t arrived. Looking at the clock incessantly, in my mind it’s tick tocking louder and louder.
I call again, ten minutes later — she arrives.
My anxiety is building. We set off.
It’s going alright, but we get caught in traffic. I’m side eyeing the clock, wishing it would pause for a while.
We’re now approaching the o2, a little pushed for time — but we’re minutes away.
‘I’m sure this is where I fucked up the journey last time’ I say trying to make sense of the spaghetti junction up ahead once again ‘just watch out for where…’
Too late. I’ve done it again! I missed my turn and I’m in the Blackwall tunnel all over again, it was like ground hog day six and a half years later.
My anxiety hits the roof.
I’m asking the Universe to help.
We exit the tunnel, I’m throwing myself at the mercy of the Universe pleading — and then, I spot the first exit and turn around.
We’re back on track! This time there’s not much traffic on the road in that direction — and five minutes later we arrive.
Chris Rock didn’t get on stage for another two hours after our arrival, but that was cool by me. The support acts were hilarious.
When Chris did get on stage, a quote was projected behind him and remained throughout his set.
“Comfort is the poison.”
I gave a wry smile every time I glanced at it, I figured getting uncomfortable is the cure. Six and a half years later it all made sense.
What an epic night.