On my way to deliver a car to Washington, PA, I got a call from the man I was delivering to.
"Where in God's creation are you?" Mr. Dexter asked me.
"Columbia, South Carolina at the moment."
"There's no reason to be a smart ass."
This stumped me. "Sir, I wasn't trying to be a--"
"Enough chit-chat, just tell me when I'm gonna get my freakin' car, would you?"
"Tomorrow morning, just as we'd planned."
"That was your plan, not mine. I simply agreed to it. And then what?"
I cleared my throat. "Well, then I catch a plane to Florida so I can pick up another car."
"And I suppose you want me to take you to the airport?"
"You don't have to, but if you are offering I'll graciously accept."
"OK, OK, just call me in the morning before you arrive at my house. I like to walk around the house buck naked, so it would be nice to have some warning. Just so I can put on some pants."
"You got it."
"Do me a favor, please don't crash and wreck my car on the drive up here. I need my car."
"Everything will be fine, Mr. Dexter."
"It better be." He hung up.
I drove north through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and finally into Pennsylvania. There were a lot of very winding roads, and long tunnels that went right through the middle of mountains. Very cool.
I arrived late at my motel in Washington, and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I set both of my portable alarm clocks, just to be certain that I woke up on time the next morning.
At sunrise, I was up and taking a quick shower. I checked out of the motel and drove the five miles to the man's home, calling him as I promised along the way. It kept sending me to his voicemail. I arrived at the house and sat in the driveway for 30 minutes. Finally, he called me back.
"Is this Bill Thomas?" he asked. "Bill the driver?"
"Yes sir, I'm right in front of your house."
"Did I or did I not instruct you to call me before you arrived?"
"I've been calling, I got no answer."
"It hardly matters, since I'm not there. I left early to do some business over in Canonsburg. Bring the car to me here, now."
"Uh, OK, how do I get to Canonsburg?"
"You're the driving expert. You're the navigational genius, you figure it out."
"Can I have the address, please?"
Mr. Dexter let out a long, heavy sigh. "You are a whole lot of trouble." He gave me the address and I jotted it down. Then I stopped at a Truck stop to get directions. Someone always knows at the Truck stop.
45 minutes later, I arrived at the address in Canonsburg. Mr. Dexter was outside looking at his watch and tapping his foot. "Took you long enough."
"I got here as quickly as I could."
"I'm not interested in your excuses, give me the car and let's be done with all this nonsense." He signed the paperwork and then said, "You're on your own for getting to the airport. I have more important things to do than chauffeur you all over the greater Pittsburgh area. Good luck." With that, he was gone.
I always have a back-up plan for how to get out of a place once I've dropped off a car. Always a Plan A and a Plan B. But I made those plans in accordance with my instructions to deliver in Washington, not Canonsburg. Luckily, a driving fool like me is very resourceful and quick on my feet. I found my way to City Hall, and there I got information about where to catch a Regional bus which would take me into downtown Pittsburgh. From there, a train ride and a city bus would get me to the airport.
While in City Hall, I also learned that Canonsburg is the birthplace of Perry Como and Bobby Vinton. And that Perry Como worked at a Barbershop in town before he became famous. There was a "Blue Velvet" teddy bear encased in glass inside City Hall, and a life size statue of Perry Como out front. I supposed I owe Mr. Dexter a big thank you for bringing me to Canonsburg. These are the little joys in life that make travels fun and full of discovery for a driving fool.