It was turning out to be a good day: three fast (pays more) runs from the same place in St. Paul going to Burnsville, Lakeville, and best of all, Faribault. Of course, they started at 10:00 and the farthest had to be completed by noon or the person wouldn't be there to receive it.
I had a few minutes before they were ready, and got my ducks in a row. The first two were to residences, unfamiliar addresses, so I checked them out on the map book. If I could drive straight to them it'd save time.
Pick-up: no problems except stressing to me the noon deadline. Burnsville drop, no problems. Nobody home but had the Ok to leave in the door. Lakeville, no problem, ditto nobody home and leave in door.
Then the fun started. The map showed several streets going from where I was to a main cross street south of me connecting to the freeway. Unfortunately, all the streets thought otherwise, conveniently marked after heading several blocks down them that here was a dead end. It wasted under 10 minutes all told, not major but certainly annoying in terms of pressure to make the deadline.
Finally I rolled into Faribault at 11:30, thinking this was going to be a piece of cake. I did my usual when I hit a town where I have no map to guide me: I checked into a gas station and asked directions. Usually giving just the address - how I navigate - just confuses the people I ask. They just do not know street names. So it's typical to add the company name as well, if it's a company and not a residence, because they do know how to find the businesses. This time it was a Catholic Church, and the lady at the counter was more than willing to stuff my head with information. None useful, however.
"_____ Church? I don't think it's there anymore. All the Catholic churches just consolidated and moved way out on the edges of town over there" (Pointed.)
OK, but if I just wanted that address, assuming that whoever sent it knew something of what there were doing and that my person was supposed to be there until noon? Then how would I find it?
The directions were on the order of "go to the next light, turn right, go down to the grocery store and turn left". Now, if you have lived in the town long enough to know where the grocery store was or even what it looked like, this might be helpful. I just hoped that by the time I got near the street that names and numbers would start to make sense. Unfortunately, I was looking for a SW address, and had been directed to go more and more NE.
Ahh, but up ahead was another gas station. I decided to ask again. This time I received a bit more useful help. They pulled out the phone book, and informed me that what I was looking for was on an avenue, not a street, and of course they ran crosswise to each other, so I needed to go down to the 2nd light, turn right, and it should be two blocks on my right.
I actually passed the grocery store on my way. It was, after all, easy to recognize despite the chaos of other commercial buildings surrounding it. It just wasn't where I needed to turn. Upon actually making my turn, I was finally on the right avenue, but while there was in fact a church two blocks down, it was not my church. And by now it was twelve minutes of noon. I kept driving, letting the addresses guide me, because I figured out I needed to go another 5 blocks. I was still in NW, and needed to cross over into SW addresses.
Here it was finally, ten minutes ahead of deadline, street parking right in front. I took the package in, gave them the name of the recipient, and stressed that the sender said he had to have it by noon. Had I made it before he left?
"Oh, he's not in at all today. But we'll see that he gets it."