Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mishaps in the South aren't really mishaps at all

If anyone has ever read my blog thoroughly, than you would know that I have this amazing tendency to get into fascinating situations of getting lost in the middle of nowhere and attempting to find my way back into society. It happened in France, Japan, New Jersey, Australia, Belgium, Germany, and probably more places. The South is no different.

If life is defined by the amount of dumb situations we manage to find ourselves in, then my 18 years-of life already merits at least a dictionary. Besides having spent the night in a train station in Paris after missing the last train home, walking 8 miles from a movie theater to my house on a frigid February evening with 103 fever, or signing up to run a 5K with a broken toe, my life at Clemson would not be officially complete until I could add something humiliating and hilarious all at the same time into the mix.

With ROTC, cadets are required to submit a medical report and receive an eye examination, to get into the program. Since I have long parted with my pediatritian, the ROTC staff was kind enough to find me a doctor and optometrist to complete the medical portion and finaly be eligible to contract as an Army officer (If I decide that is what I want with my future.) The Optometrist was located on College Avenue, a whooping 15 minute walk from my dorm. While the regular doctor was located in Seneca, which I wrongly assumed was just a bus ride away. How wrong I truly was...

I prepared myself as well as I could. I researched all the CAT bus routes, prepared myself for the inevitable chaneg from the Seneca Express to the Seneca Business Loop, created little scribble maps about roads I would need to turn down to get to Wells Highway, mapped out what stores I would be passing and at what time. The plan was to arrive at the Seneca Railroad Park and then 5 minutes later take the Business Loop. After 14 minutes, it would stop at the Lowes, Bi-Lo and I would exit and walk right until reaching Wells High way. Then after a short 500 or so meters, I would arrive. I would be there 45 minutes early, but it was the only bus ride and it is much better to be early than to late.

Of course, I did manage to forget one simple minute detail that everyone failed to mention. The doctor's office had picked itsefl up and moved farther down the raod about 5 or 6 miles from a city area to the middle of the woods. And thus, long story short, I did not arrive at the doctor's office early, or at all for that matter. When 2:30 came around, I was exhausted, hot and sweaty from the sudden burst in humidity, disgusted by how rundown and dirty Seneca was, lost out of my mind, and miserable with the prospect of missing the appointment and getting in trouble with my ROTC sargents. In defeat, I scanned through the documents and found the number of Upstate Medical Associates.

Frantically, I typed their number into my dying cell phone, and through the tears of defeat listened as I heard, "Hello! Upstate Medical Associates? What can I do for you today?" Well you could magically transport me to your office with your mind powers, but I hope I am not asking too much.

"Hi," I sniffled, "I'm JujuB, and I'm scheduled for the 2:30, that" I wiped my tears and looked at my watch, "well it was 5 minutes ago. And I'm- I'm sorry but I'm truly lost in this place and maybe you could give me directions or um... cancell my appointment."

"Well, goodness, where are ya?"

"I'm I'm um.... walking along a big road. I took the Cat Bus to Lowes... but that was over an hour ago. I followed Google Maps, but I'm hopelessly lost. I think I'm near the Applewood Shopping Center, I think."

"Lord, bless your heart, yo're walkin'?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Lordy, Ima goin' send the doctor to come pick ya up. You just stay rite thare, and shill be rite thare to get ya. Don't ya' worry bout' a thang."

And sure enough, 10 minutes later, an elderly doctor pulled up her pickup truck right in front of the spot I was standing at, wiping my tears, and said, "Hey, youn' lady. Are you JujuB?"

"Yes Ma'am."

"Well hop on in! I'm your doctor, sorry for the mishap, we'll get things settled right now. Ya aren't from 'round are ya?"

"No, ma'am. What was your first clue?"

And so I got a ride with my doctor back to the clinic, where I was placed in the front of the waiting line. During the examination, the doctor offered to give me a ride, but another one of my friends (another southern, in fact) was already waiting outside the clinic to bring me back to Clemson. In the car on the ride home, I ranted about the long walk and the fact of being late and lost. But I also told her all about how shocked I was of the kindness of the doctor for actually having come to pick me up. I just did not think that sort of thing existed anymore. Kindness, that is.

"Honey!" she said with all shreds of seriousness she could, "You're in the South now! I dunno 'bout you godless cold northerners but we Southerners take of each other."

I could not have said it better myself.