Friday, August 22, 2008

"That was the least sketchy, sketchy thing you could have done!!!"

Thanks, Ruth.

I apologize for writing so many traffic stories but it's really how I've come to interact with people outside my house and work circles.

So anyway, I was driving into work this morning and there was traffic mayhem EVERYWHERE because all of Philadelphia Ave. once you cross from Takoma Park into Silver Spring was shut down completely to clean-up an accident.

Not knowing my way around very well, I followed everyone else down Fenton St. and made a quick left down some random side street to see if I could cut back over to Georgia Ave. when two suits flagged me down.

A man and a woman waved and yelled for me to stop. They seemed normal and totally confused so I slowed down and rolled down my window to see what was up. They were horribly lost and late for a meeting.

"Do you know how to get to the building with the big hand on East-West Highway?" the man asked me.

"You mean NOAA?"

"Yes! That's the one! We're really late and we don't know where we are," he said, "can you give us directions?"

I tried to explain to them how to get there but I don't know street names. When I walk with people from Discovery to other places for lunch or whatever, we take short cuts through alleys and parking lots. So I defied everything I had been taught about safety. A flash of the Nickelodeon special "STRANGER DANGER" hosted by Linda Ellerbee ran through my mind, but I ignored it and did something I had never done before.

"Well, you know what," I said, "I work at Discovery and NOAA is right around the corner from us. If you're comfortable with it, I can give you a ride."

The man and woman starred at me, shocked. "Are you comfortable with that?" the woman said.

After explaining to me they were both scientists coming to NOAA for discussions about science things, we chatted as I tried to maneuver through the detour. Turns out the woman lived and worked in my hometown for seven years before she moved away in 1984. Weird.

I eventually let them off at the front door with their business cards in my hand.

"Don't ever hesitate to hit us up for stories for Discovery!" the man said as they thanked me and waved good-bye.

I've been at work for over two hours now and I still can't believe I did that. They could have murdered me, says my friend Ruth. Well perhaps, but I filled my do-nice-things-for-others quota for the week and I tired something I've never done before. Crazy day.


Linda Ellerbee said...

Funny how I warn kids against talking to strangers when, if you think about it, as a journalist I've made a damn good living talking to strangers. Of course, usually when you talk to them, they stop being strangers. But we don't tell kids that either.

Uh, I'm assuming you're grown now.

Best wishes,

Linda Ellerbee

Lauren Effron said...

Thanks so much for the post! Your show "Who, What, Where, When, Why" was a huge inspiration for me to become a journalist so this is just wild for me!

I know what you mean because I've done tons of MOS interviews for example, but giving strangers a ride in my car, inviting them into my space, was something that sent off many alarm bells.