Funny Story – Or, the Saga of the Word Count

This NaNoWriMo has been a marvelous, wonderful, exasperating, exhausting challenge so far.  Within two days’ time I have gone from “You know what, I think this might actually be possible; I might make it!” to “What was I thinking?  There’s no way I can do this and what made me think I could?”  And that cycle has rinsed and repeated multiple times.   I do fairly well keeping up in the beginning of the week.  Then on Wednesdays, I’m so ridiculously busy, I generally come away with a zero day, or a day of 300 words.  I continue to fall behind until the weekend, and make a mad dash to catch up.

This week, I didn’t stress it too much when I failed to deliver on Wednesday and Thursday.  After all, I was going to Virginia to spend some much needed mental health time with my buddies who live there, and was going to have the house all to myself the first half of the day to do nothing but write.  That was the plan.  Funny how plans don’t always go, well, according to plan.

I had decided before I embarked on my uninterrupted day of writing and coffee drinking, which I planned to very much enjoy, I was going to go for a jog.  Working out is one of those many things that has been pushed to the side and ignored for NaNoWriMo.  But I had some time and they have some wicked switchbacks carved into a utility road near their house.  I wanted to see if I could still run them (er, jog them at a ridiculously slow pace that makes snails shake their heads in shame).  Turns out, I didn’t do half bad; I didn’t do half good, either, but I did succeed in making it down and up them, there and back without more than one 5-second grab-your-knees-and-try-not-to-die stops.

I walked back to the house, up to the door, grabbed the knob and…it was locked.  I stood staring at it in disbelief for a minute, then, like an idiot, tried it again.  Strangely enough, it was still locked.  I made a circuit of the house, trying the other two doors, knowing they would be locked.  They were.  Of course, I didn’t have my phone with me.  I had debated taking it with me in case I fell on the switchbacks and broke my fool neck (or ankle, as a fool-neck break generally precludes one from making phone calls).  So I had no way to call an SOS in to my friend.  I thought, maybe, just maybe, there was a chance the door to the house from the garage would be unlocked as that was the door my friend had exited that morning.  I looked, in vain, for a garage door button.  There was none.  Engaging my brain a little, I walked over to the truck parked in the driveway and climbed inside (sure…THAT wasn’t locked).  I managed to find a garage door opener and fairly skipped to the doorway.  It was, of course, locked.  I seriously considered, at this point, trying to jimmy one of the locks with a nail or try the credit card swipe (please don’t turn me in for my desperate thoughts).  But my cards, along with everything else of mine, were still in the house.  And honestly, they have a mean home security system and I was afraid if I tried picking any locks, she might yell at me and call the police.

Back to the truck I went where I rummaged around, looking for some sort of spare key and finding none.  I did find, however, and ancient GPS system.  After weighing the options back and forth, I took it to my car, thinking there was a better-than-average chance it wouldn’t work.  But it did.  My friend works at a church and my thought was to drive to the church and beg her for mercy…or at least a key.  My next challenge lay in trying to remember what the church’s name was.  It should have been easy.  I mean, I’ve been to it several times, and it’s where my friend works.  So I scrounged around until I came up with the name “Purcellville Baptist”.  Yes!  That was it.  I plugged that into “Points of Interest” on the GPS: “No Data Found”.  Okay.  So, that wasn’t it.  I tried looking on “Points of Interest” for “church”.  That was a resounding failure.  So I tapped on the button that said “Recent Places”.  Yes!  There was an address in Purcellville.  That must have been from when they first moved and were still finding their way around.  I tapped that in as my destination and away we went.  Everything was going along swimmingly until the GPS started telling me to turn on some pretty bumpy, stony, one-laney roads.  I told it, out loud, this didn’t look right.  When I turned onto a road that was definitely a residential area and the GPS said I had arrived, I pulled over.  I went through the whole process of trying to type in the name, trying to search for churches as I had done before, because, surely, half an hour of driving would have changed things, given the GPS a chance to reconsider its position.  Nope.  So, I dug into the “Recent Places” part again and found another Purcellville address.  I repeated this song and dance about three times.  By then, it was only half an hour before my friend was supposed to get off work.  So, I punched in the address for the house and the GPS and I returned, not on the best of terms with each other.  I returned it to its place in the truck, walked around and tried all the doors again (I know, I know) and stood on my head in a couple of places attempting to find a hide-a-key.  I found a hide-a-yellow-jacket-nest, but no key.

At this point, I had been locked out for about 2 ½ hours and it was noon.  I no phone, no money, no cards.  I had not eaten or had any coffee, but couldn’t even go find  a coffee shop because EVERYTHING WAS IN THE HOUSE.  I also had no computer and (to my eternal shame) no notebook (I had taken it into my own house the a couple nights before to transfer some handwritten passages onto the computer).  So, I did the only thing I could.  I pulled out the book I have from my never-go-anywhere-without-a-book spot and read until, about an hour later, my friend pulled up.

“Want to hear a funny story?”

Turns out, I had the name of the church right all along.  The GPS just refused to acknowledge it.  So, apparently, not only do my friends have a security system who hates me (there’s a story from a past visit that would further prove this point) but they also have a deeply atheistic GPS who refuses to acknowledge churches as points of interest or actual destinations.

Despite all of this, I still managed to get almost 4,000 words typed today.  Forget you, Murphy (Murphy, thy name is Door Locks)!  I wrote hard AND have a great story to tell!

~ S.D. Bullard


~ by sdbullard on November 23, 2013.

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