Roslindale, Massachusetts Library - "It's complicated"
I was scheduled to be on a book panel at the Roslindale Public Library in Roslindale, Massachusetts with Kate Flora and Mary Ann Tirone Smith. I emailed the library early yesterday morning because I got conflicting directions from Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Mapquest. Before you ask, no, I do not have a GPS navigation thingy because I can't afford one and I don't travel that much to need one. The library book site only had directions using the T (the metro in Boston).
I didn't hear from anyone all day and I had to leave at 4 pm to fill up my tank, so I printed all three sets of directions out, found that Mapquest and Google were the closest match and went that way.
I took the Mass Ave exit down to Washington Street, took a left and found myself in Roxbury, which is not the nicest of areas. Let's just say I locked all the doors in my car. Thank goodness traffic was heavy, but moving. I didn't begin to panic until the area began to get worse and worse.
I called the library and the woman there was really nice and told me the online directions were way off and to just stay on Washington Street until I went by a huge T station, then look for Ukraine St, take a right, then a left onto Washington and the library wasn't too far from there.
Okayyyyy. I did end up finding the library, which had *no* parking. I ended up next door at a closed up gas station and called the library from there. The woman who gave me directions met me at my car and we walked into the library together.
Mary Ann was there and as soon as we were alone she asked me what in the heck we were doing there. I told her about my lovely drive to the library. Roslindale isn't the best area either. We just hoped enough people would show up to make it worth it. Kate showed up right at 630 pm, the time we were to start and about 10 people showed up.
We had a lively, fun discussion, as always (I love doing the panels with Kate and Mary Ann and others from Sisters In Crime New England. We got lots of great questions and I actually sold two books.
I had asked the woman who had booked us to please get me directions to either 93 or 95 north from the library, since I'd gotten so lost getting there. Welllllll, she didn't. I asked Kate if I could follow her - she was going to 128, which I could get to 93 or 95 from, even though it'd be out of my way. Then the woman who booked us said the woman who was driving Mary Ann to Fenway Park would know how I could get home. Good deal!
So with my box of books I follow Mary Ann and this woman to a waiting car on the other side of the building. Mind you, it was dark and the street lights weren't very good. The woman who was driving actually got upset and frustrated and told me "it was complicated" to give me directions. She said this *three* times. I came thisclose to telling her I'm not an idiot; instead I asked her to just go ahead and give me directions. She refused to. Seriously. I then asked where the nearest police or fire station was. I guess that was too frelling complicated for me to understand as well. Mary Ann looked upset at this whole thing and I finally said I'd call my husband and he could look it up live online and get me home.
So I walk around the building to the closed up gas station where my car is. This hip hop guy is coming toward me, slows down when I walk by and begins to turn. I frelling panic. I am not going to lie. I pretty much sprinted for my car, unlocked it, threw the box in the front seat, got in, turned on the car and pulled out as fast as I could. I was actually hoping a cop would pull me over.
I called Chris. I told him I needed him to get me the hell home. And not through Roxbury at this time of night (just before 8 pm). I refused to go that way. A white woman in a nice looking BMW with Maine plates driving around a predominantly black and not so nice area? I mean, hello?
He was trying to look it up while I slowly began to panic. I took a right on Ukraine, then a right at the lights instead of a left (the way I'd come in). This was Hyde Park Avenue. Chris was trying to figure out where I was. I was really panicking. He was trying to keep me calm. I was looking for any police or fire station. I found one! Just as I pulled into the Hyde Park Police Station parking lot, Chris figured out pretty much where I was - I was heading south instead of north. The parking lot had NO lighting, so I opted to get back on Hyde Park with Chris as my navigator.
I kept going on Hyde Park and Chris kept telling me I'd get home fine. The neighborhoods were bad and then I went under a bridge and it was like night and day. Suddenly it was country-ish and pretty. I found a gas station that looked decent and the men working there were very nice. They came out to my car and gave me directions so that I could get onto 95 north. And I made it. Almost an hour out of my way, but I made it.
I finally got home at almost 10 pm. What should have been just over an hour drive took me just over two hours.
I do not like feeling unsafe when I'm driving alone. I do not like driving in or around Boston. I will never, ever do another book event or speaking engagement in or around Boston unless someone hires a driver to take me there and back and be my escort. Period.
Poor Chris was waiting at the door when I got home to give me a huge hug. And if anyone ever tells me "it's complicated" again, I'm going to throw a fit.