This weekend, I drove to New Jersey to watch an Ultimate Frisbee tournament. In the past, I had only ever driven to New Jersey to visit the shore, where my grandparents live. Frisbee tournaments, however, are held in the middle of nowhere, as I was about to find out.
The day started off pretty well: I knocked on the door of my friend who I was borrowing a car from until she woke up. She gave me a sleepy hug and sent me on my way, so I don’t think she was too mad. I had Beyoncé’s new album playing and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese, so everything was looking up. I found my way to 476 before Partition had even started playing. As soon as I passed the bridge into Jersey, however, I realized that I might have gotten myself in over my head.
The landscape changed from the well-populated outskirts of Philly to cornfields. It was the kind of place where you can take a wrong turn and drive for 10 miles before you even realized you were lost. I had no GPS, not even the spotty Apple maps, because I am the proud owner of a dinosaur phone. If I got lost, I would have to call someone—a friend, my sister, my mom—and ask them to Google where I was and how I could possibly get to where I wanted to go. Determined to not miss a single sign, or a single line of my one woman Beyoncé sing along, I plunged into the depths of rural Jersey.
I did quite well for most of the trip. My handwritten directions that I had copied off of Google before the drive were very accurate, except for one turn where I had to take a gamble: make a turn to follow the road I thought I was supposed to be on, or not turn because I hadn’t written that I was supposed to turn until much later? I turned; and luckily it worked out.
I got all the way to the town in which the tournament was taking place before things turned sour. The town was a very small rural town. There was a Main Street with two gas stations and a church and not much else. It was the kind of town where Main Street is easy to find because it’s the center of town, but it’s hard to find anything else. Unfortunately, the park I was looking for was not on Main Street. I drove around for a while, trying to find my way, but it was no use. My written directions had not prepared me for this; I needed Google or a local. I stopped at one of the 2 gas stations to ask for directions, but the woman behind the counter was not the local that I had been looking for.
The next closest business was the post office. As I pulled into the parking lot in my car with Vermont plates, marking me as someone who had no idea where I was and what I was doing, I was getting a little hysterical. The tournament had started 10 minutes ago; I only had a few hours until I had to be back on campus and what if I never found it? Another car had pulled into the parking lot just in front of me; a white mustang. A guy in his twenties got out of it and headed for the post office when I intercepted him. I told him that I was so sorry to bother him, but I was looking for Upper Neck road. I told him that I was going to a park to watch some Frisbee. I must have sounded insane. He had grown up in this town, and said that he lived on Upper Neck road. What a coincidence. He tried to give me verbal directions a few times, but must have taken pity on me because he volunteered to drive there and I could follow him.
This random stranger that I will probably never meet again dropped his post office errand and drove several miles out of his way (in his super sweet car) to show a lost tourist the way to a Frisbee tournament. I don’t know who he is, but I am infinitely grateful to him. I’m glad that even though I ventured outside of the Bryn Mawr bubble that day, I still found people who are as kind and accommodating as I’ve come to expect from spending all of my time with Bryn Mawr students. Also, when I looked in the glove compartment to put my things there for safekeeping, I found that my friend had a GPS in there the whole time.