Annapalooza

When Cheeseheads Travel South April 24, 2017

The road trip seemed like a good idea at the time.

“It’s only the panhandle…it’s not like we’re driving to Miami,” I reasoned. “Besides, all the flights are astronomically expensive during spring break.”

About twelve hours into the trip we ended up cursing ourselves for being such cheap-asses. On the other hand, it only took me about five hours to realize that even Sirius XM plays the same damn songs over and over again. (The top 50 songs from 1983 again, Alan Hunter?) And while we are certainly nostalgic, eventually we grew tired of Nina Blackwood’s “I just swallowed broken glass” voice and ended up on the ONEderland station. There we were promptly treated to the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song. Baby, if you ever wondered…wondered how long it would take for my husband to get tired of me singing that song? I’d say twenty minutes. Twenty minutes tops.

Thankfully the long trip was broken up a bit by a stop in Nashville. We jumped on a trolley tour and endured all the historical narration and the American Pickers store until we could hop off and zoom in on what really mattered. That’s right, I’m talking about hot chicken. We waited an hour and twenty minutes for Hattie B’s famous hot chicken, and yes, it was worth it. Waiting was not easy, especially since we were surrounded by about a bazillion twenty-something hipster dudes. Ladies, quit hooting and hollering on those pedal-bars and come and eat some chicken for God’s sake! A person can only listen to so many dive bar adventures and references to PBR.

After a late afternoon nap (because eating hot chicken and mac and cheese makes one very tired), we headed back out to Broadway, home to much honkin’ as well as much tonkin’. When I heard a band playing some very good Chuck Berry, we decided to make our way inside. After securing our beverages and a place up front, things took a bit of a turn for me. The band stopped the Chuck Berry and suddenly started playing Country. No Western, just Country. Had it been Kenny or Dolly or Loretta or Johnny or any of the Statlers I would have been fine, but this was new country. As in the music I have to tolerate before Monday Night Football begins. But apparently EVERYONE (including my husband – oh, the horror…) knew all the words to every song, leaving me to awkwardly clutch my Michelob Ultra and mumble over and over, “All I know is Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee.”[1] I felt like I had been transported to some sort of parallel pop culture universe where I was completely out of the loop… kind of like when I lived overseas in 1994 and then came home to find everyone drinking Zima. That is, it made me deeply concerned for human kind’s sense of judgment and overall taste level.

But I digress.

The next day we hit the back roads of Alabama. This is where we came across my favorite name for a restaurant ever, the “It Don’t Matter Family Restaurant” in Highland Heights. Unfortunately it was closed, but my disappointment was short-lived as we came to a convenience (?) store whose sign read: Hot dogs, wine, chainsaws and jewelry all in one stop.

I’m not really sure what more a person could ask for, but judging by all the rusty items sitting out front, an updated tetanus shot would be a good guess. And now I know what the Oily Bohunk’s dad’s new business venture is. (Besides video game arcades, laundry, cigarette machines, and trucking. Oh, and the little bit of dabbling in personal loans and politics.)[2]

Stay tuned for next time when the Cheeseheads continue their Southern adventure…

 

[1] How do I know even this much? Because years ago some commercial for NOW That’s Country! was played constantly, and some blond guy with a mustache and cut-off t-shirt kept singing that line in the commercial. I now know that guy’s name was Alan Jackson.

[2] Kudos if you caught my reference to Sixteen Candles. You can sit with us. On Wednesdays we wear pink. (I’ve never seen a footnote to a footnote, but if there were such a thing, there would be a footnote here referencing Mean Girls. I really must stop living my life through movie quotes, but why stop now?)

 

Things I’m Supposed to Like February 21, 2017

Attention, marketers: I’m not picking up what you’re laying down, so you can take your Chicos fashions and move right along: I’m not buying it. Along with the rest of these things that 43-year-old women are supposed to like.

Paint Your Own Picture or Paint Your Own Pottery

I know I will probably offend some of my friends when I say this, but I have no desire to go to a studio and drink wine while we all paint the same picture and then pose with our artwork in a proud group photo, undoubtedly comparing our skills to each other. Not gonna do it. And to be honest, the fact that so many ladies do this makes me not want to do it even more. (I know, that makes me a total badass.)

Jennifer Aniston Movies

Mother’s Day? Really? Blech. Drivel.

Bath and Body Works

Do I want a basket to help me shop? No, I don’t. Ever.

Fifty Shades of Grey

This is our modern day idea of romance? That is seriously screwed up. Give me Daniel Day Lewis removing Michelle Pfeiffer’s glove in The Age of Innocence. Or Lloyd Dobbler watching over Diane Court at the senior party.

Victoria’s Secret

Don’t get me wrong – I love me some nice lingerie. It’s just that I don’t think Victoria’s Secret is all that great. And yet thongs – I mean throngs – of women flock to it as if it’s the Holy Grail of lingerie. Stop buying that overpriced crap, people! I’m also a bit disturbed that the company is marketing the Pink brand to pre-teens and teenagers so they can feel “sexy”.

P.S. I may still feel some resentment and/or creepiness over trying to order several catalog items from them years ago. A man took my order and proceeded to giggle at everything I said, including the fact that I was from Wisconsin. Like it was that odd that someone from Wisconsin would actually be ordering sexy underwear. It turned out every single thing I tried to order was mysteriously out of stock, so he then tried to sell me a Dream Bra (like a Miracle Bra) right over the phone. Needless to say, I never called them again.

Leonardo Dicaprio

Please tell me I’m not the only woman who doesn’t find him attractive. Even in his Titanic days he had the body of a little boy. I’m not into that. I’m also not into self-righteous movie stars who only date supermodels.

Brad Pitt

Okay I do feel a bit bad for him because Angelina is truly batshit crazy; she seems like one of those moms who lets the kids run rampant and then gets upset when Brad tries to step in and say, “No, Pax, you can’t do whatever the f*ck you want, because you are a CHILD.” But that aside, it seems like he doesn’t shower enough.

Coldplay and Adele

Yeah, I know…I lost my white person card right there. It’s not that I hate them, it’s just that I am so freaking sick of them. I never saw what was so great about Coldplay, and Chris Martin lost even more points when he married Gwyneth Paltrow. Adele is obviously very talented, I get it. But if I hear Hello one more time I might set fire to the…never mind.

Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend

Sigh. I know everyone is having this giant love affair with this beautiful couple and their beautiful child, but I’m over it. I think it started recently when they decided to sit down on the red carpet in the middle of the Golden Globes. Hmmm…not enough attention is being paid to us, so what to do, what to do…Oh! I know! Let’s sit down on the red carpet!

The sad part is, this shit made headlines.

And lastly…

Apple Products

Sorry, Apple, but I will not get sucked into your cult! Again, I find it disturbing that people wait in line for hours for a new (super expensive) phone that is basically 99% similar to their previous phone. If people are really honest with themselves, it’s not because of the new “features”; it’s so they can brag to their friends that they have the latest phone. Oh and it’s also because all the cute phone cases are only made for the latest iPhones. Seriously, have you ever tried to find a hip phone case for a Samsung Galaxy S5? It doesn’t exist.

Bonus reason: I don’t even think Apple products are that easy to use. ITunes? Disaster. Personally I like how I can go to Amazon Music, buy or download a song from Prime, and then automagically all my music is on my phone. It’s brilliant and cheaper and I love it.

 

Spinderella Cut It Up One Time (Or, What I’ve Learned from Spin Class) January 29, 2017

1) Don’t Wear Mascara.

The first time I went to a “real” spin studio, I was in the South. From what I’d seen and read (perhaps from Steel Magnolias?) I thought that Southern ladies pretty much slept in their make-up. Therefore I didn’t want to show up to the 6:15 a.m. class looking like…well, looking like my natural self. I put on a little concealer and my normal Dior Show mascara and headed out the door. About one hour later I was literally soaked with sweat but super proud I had done the class while not looking like too much of an idiot. (Wait for it.)  I then walked the 1.5 miles back to my hotel. Only when I got into the bathroom did I realize I had two huge raccoon eyes; that damn drag queen mascara was all over my face. I basically looked like I had just walked out of the Kentucky coal mines after a long days’ work. (And I should know; I’ve watched Coal Miner’s Daughter at least twenty times.

2) The Instructors Look Like Athleta Models.

This, of course, makes me instantly resent them. Many of them have ultra hip names like “West” or “Tedrick” or “Dannan”, a long blonde ponytail, abs of steel, and a sizeable thigh gap even my skinniest self has never seen. They were all former cheerleaders and/or dance squad captains at some big college, and I am constantly left to wonder how the hell they got their bodies. I’m sure it’s not all from spinning, despite what Kelly Ripa may tell you.

3) But I Still Love the Instructors.

Even though I resent their perfect bodies and perky demeanors, I still can’t hate them. The fact is, they’re good and inspiring and so darn nice. One instructor in particular, who reminded me of that perfect blonde Athleta model from every catalog (you know the one I’m talking about, ladies) does a fantastic job of making sure we leave all of our stress, insecurities, pain, etc. at the door and just focus on being good to ourselves. “Nobody is ever as perfect as they seem,” she (ironically?) said to the class. “Everyone has their thing, everyone has their own issues even if they don’t show it.” I couldn’t imagine what perfect blonde Athleta model’s struggles were, but I decided there must be something and just went with it.

4) You Rarely Sit Down.

I don’t know why this was a surprise to me; the instructors sure as hell didn’t get those bodies by taking leisurely rides like they were in a Schwinn banana seat. Once you get on the bike, your keester is up and out of the “saddle” most of the time. Sometimes when they dim the lights really dark I sit down and pretend that nobody can see me, but I know better. Plus I’m too competitive and self-conscious to be sitting too long, so I savor those 5 seconds of rest and then go back for more before the instructor sees me. Yes, it’s painful, but after awhile you get used to it.

5) There’s a Weights Section.

I’m usually jumping for joy and relief when the weights part of the workout rolls around. (Well, okay maybe not jumping…since my thighs are burning so much I pretty much have spaghetti legs by then, if you can imagine spaghetti legs with a little more than the desired amount of thigh meat.) I enjoy the weights because I can rock them out better than a lot of people in class, and for a few minutes I feel better about myself.

6) The Music Keeps Me Coming Back.

Bruno Mars vs. Michael Jackson theme nights? Old School Hip Hop? Yes, please! The music is always fantastically motivating and super loud, and sometimes it makes me forget I’m suffering (and paid an enormous amount of money for a 45-minute class.)

(That reminds me: Must suggest New Edition/Bobby Brown/ BBD theme night, based on recent success and hype of The New Edition Story miniseries. Spin instructors reading this, feel free to use my awesome idea. You’re welcome.)

 

Running Sometimes Makes Me Angry September 5, 2016

Filed under: Humor,Life Lessons,Uncategorized — aniederkorn @ 8:30 am
Tags: ,

I am not a runner. I am someone who sometimes runs and even sometimes signs up for things like 5K’s or even marathon relays, but I still don’t consider myself a runner. There are a variety of reasons for this, but it’s probably because 1) I don’t usually run on a regular basis (unless I’m training for something), and 2) I am slow as sh*t. I figure if I’m ever going to get any enjoyment out of running, I don’t want to suffer too much…hence I keep a very steady and slow pace just to avoid too much discomfort. Most days I would much rather do forty-five minutes of Insanity than run. Running is just such a constant mental battle for me: Can I keep this up? A car is coming, I’m going to speed up a bit. Seriously, how can that only be 1.5 miles? There’s another runner. Do I give him the runner’s nod, even though I clearly am not at his level? Is he mocking me? Etc. Etc.

Besides, I don’t even have a runner’s body; I have a long torso with short legs. A “regular runner’s” stride equals about four of mine. (On a side note, my body is apparently better suited to swimming. I’ve tried swimming fast. It never happens.) The truth is, running can scare the sh*t out of me. And here’s why: I never know when I’m going to have a great run or a terrible run. One day I could be feeling like a rock star and the next I have such a terrible run that I end up questioning my entire fitness level and abilities. And this makes me angry.

If you’re a runner and you enjoy it, I really envy you. I do. You most likely have impossibly long legs and weigh next to nothing. If you think I hate you for this, you’re probably right.

But seriously… if I really examine where my anger towards running comes from, I’d have to look back at my brief and totally non-illustrious personal history with running. I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to this list:

Runners Who Run BEFORE the Race

There are actually people who go on runs around the course before the race even begins. At a high speed. I am not one of those people. I need to conserve every ounce of energy I have before the race, therefore the walk from the parking lot and maybe a few half-assed stretches are all I’ve got. There is no way in hell I’m going to run a 5K before I run a 5K. Who are these show-offs? They’re runners. These people make me angry.

The Walk-Sprint People, a.k.a. Annoying Children

These are the 5K participants who have not prepared in any way for the race, so they decide to do a combination of short sprints followed by walking. They are usually clueless children who had no idea how far a 5K actually was, so they start out the race by sprinting for about a tenth of a mile, then suddenly realize holy sh*t I can’t keep this up (at least that’s what the foul-mouthed children are thinking.) So they walk. The second I catch up to them, they will inevitably start to sprint again. And then they will walk. And then I will catch up to them, and then they will sprint away from me again. We will play this little cat and mouse game almost the entire time until I finally can’t take it anymore and pass those little bastards once and for all.

Jean Shorts Guy

There’s always some scrawny guy in the race who looks like he rolled out of bed, threw on some jean shorts and some Chuck Taylors and decided, “I think I’m going to run this charity 5K today.” Even though the last year of his life consisted mostly of time spent in front of the penny slots machine, he passes me on the course and beats my time by about 10 minutes. Yup. I just got passed by a guy in jean shorts. And you wonder why running sometimes makes me lose my sh*t.

Incompetent Race Direction-Givers

One time a few college students who were supposed to direct people where to go on the course apparently missed the memo…and I went the wrong way.  (Yes, this would only happen to me. As if the actual running part was not hard enough, I now had to guess where to run.) As I passed others who were running the opposite direction, I wanted to scream at the boys: You had ONE JOB PEOPLE!! ONE JOB!! I ended up going about 3.5 or 3.6 miles instead of 3.1. Who knows. All I know is I was suffering badly. But Anne… how does this even happen, you ask? Read on.

Runners Who Run AFTER the Race

So apparently I went the wrong way during a race because I saw some other people way ahead of me…and I followed them. And the direction guys did not stop me. Seems logical, right? Well apparently not, because those people who finish the 5K so frickin’ fast then feel the need to actually go back onto the course and RUN. SOME. MORE. In the wrong direction. In any direction they feel like. So people like me see them and follow them.

Here’s a thought: Once you’re done with the race, F*cking. Stay. Off. The. Course. Want to go run some more? Fine, go knock yourself out. But don’t go back on the course. The fact that I am still struggling to finish while you are doing your “cool down” (at a pace still way more fast than more normal one) only makes me feel bad about myself. Oh, and angry. And here’s another thought: If you like to run so much and wanted to run more than a 5K, then why didn’t you sign up for the half marathon instead? These tiny distances are clearly way too easy for you, and I’d much rather avoid your condescending little looks of encouragement in my direction while you pass me during your cool down.

You’re welcome.

 

Despite all my embarrassing running moments,  there are actual times that running makes me feel good. And perhaps that’s why I continue to do it…to prove I can. To prove that despite my body type and overall general attitude towards running, I can actually do it if I set my mind to it. Even if I’m angry.

 

 

Last Day Abroad July 6, 2016

Filed under: Humor,Life Lessons,Travel — aniederkorn @ 10:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

The year was 1994. I had just finished a semester abroad in Toledo, Spain, followed by about three weeks traveling around Europe on the cheap. My experience was a combination of culture shock, anxiety, enlightenment, and just plain fun. My Spanish was the best it had ever been, and I ate a ton of wonderful Mediterranean food but never gained a pound. (Probably a combination of my twenty-year-old metabolism and the unprocessed, healthy diet). However, by the time late May rolled around I was more than ready to head home.

Let’s start by saying I wasn’t one of those students who came back from abroad and had to make sure everyone around them knew how “worldly” they were. I wasn’t wearing a long peasant dress and constantly working references about Spain into normal conversation just to get attention. Okay so maybe I did think, “Wow, you have no idea how sheltered you are” when I ran into a few people, but for the most part I just felt so lucky that I lived in the United States and could come back to such a wonderful country. I had missed my family and friends so much; with email in its infancy, I had to rely on good old-fashioned letters during my entire stay. I saved every one. I also came to miss the little mundane everyday activities we all took for granted. For example, when I had composed a list of things I wanted to do over the summer, one of them was actually “go grocery shopping”. (Ironic since I now absolutely hate grocery shopping unless it’s Trader Joe’s or Costco.)

Now the second thing you need to know is that I had grown up in a family that was exposed to other cultures quite often. Even though I lived in a small town, my dad was a member of the local Rotary Club that would host exchange students every year. It was common for our family to host students for a weekend here or there; when I was in high school we hosted a Japanese girl for a semester. The whole experience with Rotary was based on kindness, fellowship, and generosity. My family was not compensated for hosting these students; we willingly took them in, took them places, and bought them Christmas gifts as if they were part of the family. That was just the way it was, so I somewhat expected the same kind of treatment when I studied overseas years later. I was so wrong.

So here we are back in Toledo, Spain.My last day abroad. I got up around 5:30 a.m. in order to catch a ride with a neighbor to the bus station. That’s right; my host family had already said their goodbyes the night before and were not actually taking me to the airport about an hour away. This was definitely not the send-off I had expected, but I knew that my host family was being paid to have me in their home. Despite this, I still felt hurt that our friendship was not worth a trip to the airport.

So instead there was Carlos, clearly annoyed he had to bring me to the bus station on his way to work. I struggled to get my suitcases down all the stairs to the waiting bus. Once in Madrid, I managed to find a taxi to the airport, relieved that I was almost there. Until we actually got to the airport, that is. The taxi driver did some calculations on a piece of paper, careful to include my 2 suitcases and the carry-on, then announced that I owed him $120.

Uh…¿disculpe?

I was cranky already and now this guy is trying to rip me off? I didn’t even have $120 on me. And here we had such a nice conversation in Spanish on the ride here…MIERDA.  He tried to play nice and offered to help me with my bags as I went to find an ATM (and a police officer, which I never did find. They were probably on strike. Every other day someone was on strike in that damn country.)

Once I was robbed by the taxi driver I got into the long check-in line. As I was waiting, a chipper lady from the airline approached me and told me that the flight was oversold and she was looking for volunteers for a later flight. Since my family was driving 5-6 hours to O’Hare to meet me, this was out of the question. I smiled at her through gritted teeth and told her no while shaking my head wildly. My crazy eyes seemed to tell her: Leave. Now. 

I checked in, found my gate and settled into a chair, now more than ever just wanting to get home to my land of Taco Bell and peanut butter. But alas my hell was not over. Soon after I sat down, a forty-something Spanish man decided to lie across the chairs directly across from me. He closed his eyes and seemed to be hunkering down for a pre-flight nap. But first, he had to take care of a little business. And by business, I mean sticking his hand down his pants and scratching like he had pants full of poison oak topped with mosquito bites, then sprinkled with an allergic reaction. He was not adjusting any balls, he was not playing with himself…he was just SCRATCHING.

I looked around the gate. Uh…yeah, is anyone else seeing this? Why isn’t anyone else looking disgusted? What is wrong with you people? This guy is rubbing himself so much his balls have turned into one huge human scratch-off ticket.

I closed my eyes and dreamed about kissing the ground when I landed in D.C.

Try not to be ethnocentric. Try not to be ethnocentric. Try not to ethnocentric.

Hell, all bets were off at that point. I can still appreciate other cultures and celebrate their differences while thinking my country is the best, right? Everyone should think their own country is the best! (I can’t speak for those countries that are so corrupt and full of terrorism that people need to leave – of course in that case then yes get the hell out.) But I’m not going to apologize for loving my country. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Happy belated Independence Day, everyone! And may your days abroad be safe, merry and scratch-free.

 

 

 

 

Please Get This Song Out of My Head June 11, 2016

Back in August and September I was pretty much in work hell: long hours, a stressful project, lots of new things to learn. This particular work project also required spending my days in a small conference room with two to four other people at any given time, often for 10-12 hours in a row. At one point I taped a sign to the door that said, “Please do not discuss the outside world”. This, of course, was a tribute to The Simpsons (because everyone knows that’s what the sign says outside Grandpa Simpson’s retirement home.) Sadly, not many people understood my pop culture reference, nor did they think it was funny. I thought it was downright hilarious, but the conference room was in the middle of the environmental, health and safety department, and who knows what those people find funny. Dilbert cartoons about ergonomics?

Anyway, lack of contact with the outside world can certainly drive a person quite batty. I don’t know about you, but when I get to the appropriate level of battiness, my mind turns into a one-woman radio station for those with ADHD. I have no control over the genre or taste level on this station; the songs just pop into my head before I can do anything about it. Perhaps it’s a coping mechanism…or perhaps I am somewhere on the ADHD spectrum myself but never really got diagnosed? Not sure. But the results range from annoying to embarrassing to what-the-f*ck?

One particular day my mind was so active with songs that I actually started writing them down. Here’s what I came up with:

  • “Family Man” by Hall and Oates. It makes perfect sense that I would have this song in my head first thing in the morning. I am not a morning person and furthermore I’m an introvert, so the last thing I want to do when I get to work is join a room full of people. So “Leave me alone, I’m a fam-ily man” just seemed to stick, minus the whole family man thing.
  • “Let the Good Times Roll” by The Cars. Obviously I was going through a sarcastic phase here.
  • “Whooomp There It Is” by Tag Team. I think someone came in the room and said “I’m back again”, and then it all went from there, naturally.
  • “Special” by the Pretenders. I honestly don’t know how this song got in my head.
  • “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. This was right after lunch when all I really wanted was a nap. But instead I had that incessant wedding celebration song in my head.
  • “Rocky Top Tennessee” by one of the kids from the classic Kenny Rogers movie “Six Pack”. Yes, I realize that this was probably sung by someone famous, but I never did know my country singers. Except for Kenny, Dolly, Loretty, and The Statler Brothers. (Do The Statlers count? I think they do.) Anyway, when I sing Rocky Top to myself, it’s always this calm, reflective version sung by this little redneck boy while Kenny Rogers the washed-up racecar driver is driving the RV. Granted that kid was a little sh*t the rest of the movie, but boy could he sing like an angel.
  • “Give Your Heart a Break” by Demi Lovato. Hmmm. I thought this was by Selena Gomez but I just Googled it and I was wrong. Anyway, it was played on the radio ALL. THE. TIME. and I could not get it out of my head.
  • “We Built This City” by Starship. One of the worst songs of all time, yet here’s an interesting fact: A few years ago I saw a concert with Lou Gramm, Eddie Money and Mickey Thomas from Starship, and Mickey was the only performer who could actually still sing and not sweat through his shirt in less than 30 seconds. You have to respect that.
  • “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. Somebody mentioned something about ‘making a change’, hence I started whispering that in my head and it morphed into this Michael Jackson song which so many people find inspirational. I don’t. If my mind’s radio station is going to give me some Michael, then it better be “PYT”.
  • “Walk Away” by The Eagles. Again I had to look this up because I though the song was called, “Seems to Me”. And I always get my 70’s bands confused, so no, I didn’t know it was The Eagles. Which is odd because growing up just about every washed-up 70’s band came to my hometown to play in a festival each summer. This was before I figured out how awesome “No Sugar Tonight” was. Ugh, doesn’t your teenage self just disgust you sometimes?
  • “Give Your Heart a Break” – again. Damnit, Sel – I mean Demi!!
  • “The Final Countdown” by Europe. At this point I must’ve seen some hope that we were wrapping up the long day, and this was the most appropriate song of course.
  • Get out of my head, Demi Lovato!!!

And the final song of the day…

  • “I Alone” by Live. Because what else captures the triumph of another long work day better than a song about placenta falling to the floor?

 

P.S. If I had my way, I would have preferred a recently-discovered song from Pitbull’s Globalization station (don’t judge) on my satellite radio. It’s a nifty little number featuring Jennifer Lopez saying, “I done had a long week, now it’s time to celebrate. This drink’s for you.” Sure, Pitbull was dedicating the song to all the single ladies and single mothers out there (like his mom), but I think he could make an exception for the hardworking white ladies too, right?

 

GPS Fail May 22, 2016

It all started out so innocently. I had booked the training in Atlanta because I was genuinely interested in the session and San Francisco was probably out of the company budget (not to mention a long way to go for a one-day seminar). I was savoring the chance to get out of the office and read on the plane, not to mention a hotel room and remote all to myself. I had heard the traffic rumors about Atlanta, but I honestly thought, “Meh, how bad can it be, right?”

I was so very wrong.

My trip actually starts out pretty well. My flight arrives early, and I’m the only person in line for my rental car place. I get to the expressway just fine, as I have to travel to the north side of Atlanta (the airport is – of course – on the far south side of the city). I’m cruising along, slightly slowing in the middle of the city but for the most part keeping a steady pace.

I get off the expressway and onto another highway, then take my exit to my hotel. This is where the trouble starts. According to my GPS, my hotel is “on the right”. That isn’t really specific enough, and I don’t see my hotel at all, but I could figure that out later. That’s because my hotel exit also featured a sign for Chick Fil A, and I was hell bent on getting some delicious chicken before hunkering down for the night. The sign had said the restaurant was maybe a half mile down the road, however it became clear that they either lied, I had missed it, or it was very cleverly hidden.

In the meantime I get completely turned around and confused and somehow end up in a mall parking lot. Right in front of Nordstrom, specifically. If you know me, you realize the irony of this situation.

But at this point I was so frustrated and bordering on hangry that even a beautiful shoe department could not deter me on my quest for chicken. I regroup, punch Chick Fil A into my phone’s GPS, and wait for my instructions. The calm voice tells me to do something like “Head Northwest”.

“Well bless her heart, she honestly thinks I know which way is Northwest,” I say in my best Southern accent.

Honestly, I’m more of a “turn right at the McDonald’s” kind of gal, so the GPS may as well have told me to “Go Table”.  I end up flipping a coin and hoping for the best. Of course by the time I realize I should have turned left instead of right, it’s too late. I have to turn around in some residential community that looks like it could house a poorer Real Housewife. Maybe Kim before she met Big Papa.

Honestly, how do people ever make a left turn around here? If there’s not a light, you’re pretty much screwed. I have no choice but to somewhat pull out in front of someone, and then I realize how painfully close I was to Chick Fil A all along and I feel like an idiot for wasting the last 30-45 minutes looking for it. But I do get my chicken and kale salad, and then I vow to walk to my training in the morning. After all, it’s less than a mile away and not worth the hassle.

As luck would have it, it’s pouring rain in the morning (of course!) so I decide to just suck it up and drive. The GPS directs me right to the building and tells me to go in the two left hand lanes. I do this and decide I will then go to the back of the building and park. Except that the lanes do not lead to the back of the building. They lead to the expressway.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Note: The GPS will just get you to the front of the building. It will not mention that you need to get into a certain lane to find the parking garage for the building. This lacking functionality completely effs up my simple commute, which has now turned into a COMPLETE NIGHTMARE.

I let the f-bombs fly as I realize I will now be late for my training, since not only is traffic crawling, but the next opportunity to get off the highway is about 5 miles down the road. So even though I left 30 minutes early to travel 1 mile, I still end up LATE for my training. I hate being the late person.

Honestly ATL people, I don’t know how you do it. I loved how you had the three C’s covered in a small radius (Chick Fil A, Container Store, Costco), but if it takes an hour to travel between them all, that kind of defeats the purpose of this beautiful trifecta, am I right?

Even as I traveled to the airport at 6 a.m. the next morning, the traffic was hectic…not because of the number of cars, but because of all the maniacs who were frantically trying to avoid the impending rush-hour. Their motto seemed to be, “Screw that. I’m going to work at 6 a.m. and driving 90 mph to avoid all you other suckers.” Fair enough.

Never again, ATL. Never. Again.