Jean Paul Sartre, brilliant French playwright and philosopher, described Hell in his play Huis Clos (No Exit) as eternity being trapped in a room with two other people you cannot stand.
After this morning, I have an alternate reading of Hell, which I will title No Exton. On my way to a long-procrastinated dermatological appointment, I headed in my crap car down 202 for what seemed like 400 years looking for the Route 100, Exton exit. I made it well past Westchester and nearly to Wilmington before I realized I was lost. I had passed many miles of cars stopped due to construction on the other side of the highway, so I knew that a return trip would be harrowing in my soon-to-be-scrap-metal of a car.
I pulled off the road and called the dermatologist's office to ask for directions. They informed me there is no exit for Route 100, Exton exit going south on 202, only when you're coming north on 202. No Exton. They also informed me that despite waiting over a month for an appointment and receiving less than perfect directions FROM THEIR OFFICE, that I would have to reschedule if I was going to be more than 5 minutes late.
Knowing that 202 northbound was a parking lot, I cancelled the appointment, and headed back in the other direction with the very helpful suggestion from the office staff "... perhaps if you work in the city and don't know the area, you should go to a Penn dermatologist, they're very good." No Exton.
I had plenty of time to think evil thoughts as I sat on 202 North, particularly as the traffic stopped right in front of the Route 100, Exton sign. "Ah yes, there it is... perfectly visible on 202 North. Why in the world aren't the exits the SAME ON BOTH SIDES OF THE HIGHWAY!!!" is what I was thinking as I sat there. Actually, the words I was thinking are inappropriate to publish, so I sanitized them for you. No Exton.
Miraculously, traffic started to move again BEFORE my car reached the level of overheating that causes the engine to seize and leaves one stranded at the side of the highway. For 10 minutes or so I watched the needle creep up, glanced up at the blasted Route 100 sign occasionally, and tried to brainstorm about who I would call to come fetch me from the side of the road. No Exton.
I finally made it back east, and onto the train into the city, but not before one more tiny little event. I was feeding change into the SEPTA parking lot thing, when the wind took my skirt for a little ride, giving everyone on the platform a free show. Fine, these things happen, but my undergarments for the day are perhaps more appropriate for a 6-year-old: bright pink boy-shorts with big white polka-dots and fat lace edging. Not exposing anything interesting, but nearly impossible to miss, should the wind take your skirt for a ride in front of a large group of people.
So by writing about it here, I am reclaiming my dignity. Yes, World, I am a grown woman with polka-dot underwear. No, I do not drive well. No, I do not navigate well while driving. No, Route 100, Exton does not exist on 202 South. No, I do not want to go to the dermatologist. No, I do not like to be late to work, even if the line at Starbucks is shorter.
There you have it. Judge me if you will. Just consider yourself lucky not to be trapped in a crap car with me on 202 South for all of eternity.