Lost On The Yellow Brick Road

Today marks the beginning of my second week in new work surroundings. My colleagues and I have abandoned our old headquarters near Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center for a new HQ on North Capitol Street NE.

It’s an impressive building. It’s spacious. It’s modern. And, it’s clean. One of my colleagues summed it up saying, “I just prepared my meal in the bathroom. It’s nicer than my kitchen.”

It is a nice place to work. A truly nice place. But while the bathrooms really do sparkle, I don’t know that I want to make my customary peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the same room in which I flush it away.

Showing up for my first shift last weekend was akin to Dorothy arriving in Oz. After her farmhouse was swept away in a tornado, she went from a drab world filled with shades of gray to the splendor of fabulous Technicolor. The only thing missing when I arrived at the new building was a crowd of munchkins doing a song and dance routine and handing out giant lollipops.

I just wish the Yellow Brick Road leading there wasn’t so hard to follow.

I spent years perfecting my commute to our old building. The drive became so routine that I really didn’t have to think about it too much. As long as I paid attention to radio traffic reports, the commute from the Eastern Panhandle was usually trouble-free. And, if a problem cropped up somewhere along the line, I generally knew how to avoid it and still arrive on time.

All that’s changed now. And, I fear the move to the new building is reviving my reputation as a directionally challenged “Wrong Way” Corrigan, the pilot who famously flew from New York to Ireland in 1938 instead of to California, as his flight plan indicated.

Corrigan blamed his unauthorized trip across the Atlantic on a navigational error. He said his compasses failed. While he never admitted it, there are strong suspicions that he undertook his transatlantic flight on purpose after being denied by aviation authorities. If only I could convince my wife and kids to think the same of me.

There’s a joke around my house about my ability (or lack thereof) to get from point A to point B. It usually comes up when we are all in the car together, and my wife thinks wherever we are going is taking too long. She’ll roll her eyes and borrow a line from the Supertramp song, telling the kids, “You’re father likes to take the long way home.” That’s their cue to begin singing the chorus.

I’ve always denied intentionally taking the long way. But it seems as if the new commute is proving my wife’s point.

I just can’t seem to get the hang of driving to the new building. Even my iPhone is having trouble guiding me there. The app I’ve downloaded will get me close, but so far I haven’t arrived without first getting lost (it’s got to be the app’s fault).

It’d be nice if I had a Good Witch looking after me. One wave of the wand could turn my route into an easy-to-follow yellow.

But since that’s not going to happen, I’m just going to have to make the best of it.

Otherwise, I might be reduced to clicking my heels.


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