How I ended up in the worst neighborhood in Orlando

It had been a busy week of anxiety and blog conference nonsense. Work was stressing me out to the max. I was in the middle of a month of travel (15 out of 26 days, to be exact), having returned from Vegas two days prior to my Orlando departure, and the exhaustion was starting to wear on me. But I was finally having a magical night thanks to some friends and a fabulous twinkle skirt. We were closing down the BlogHer dance party, and some of those friends got together at the end of the evening and said, “You know what, gang? This just isn’t doing it for us. Let’s get outta here and do something crazy!”

I believe it was Mary who suggested we hit up a local private-room karaoke bar that she had googled. It was only a 5-minute Uber from the hotel we were staying at. I hemmed and hawed something about needing to wake up for an early morning press trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but in the end, I decided that I needed a “Yes!” moment. And so I said yes. I went up to change out of my now sweaty AF skirt and finish packing for my flight the next day.

We met down in the lobby a half hour later, and I hailed the car that would take Mary, Kristen, Lea, Brea, and me on quite the adventure.

We had been driving for about 7 minutes when I looked at the map on my Uber app. “Hey uhh, guys…I don’t think this is quite as close as we think it is. We’re still about 35 minutes out…”

It was at this point that we thought it might be best to ask the driver about our destination, an address on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando.

“Is the area we’re going to an okay part of the city?”

The driver gave a vague answer, at best, but he was hinting that it wasn’t really the best area for a group of women set to arrive just before 11 pm. We kept probing, spending the next half hour debating whether to turn around and find a different bar to spend the evening. By the time we arrived at Q Karaoke, we noticed the area was definitely the type of place we wouldn’t want to find ourselves stranded on a rainy night. Very desolate, few businesses open, and the ones that were closed were barred up. The bar itself was in the middle of an empty-looking strip mall with the neon lights of an exotic clothing store at the helm. The driver offered to take us back to our hotel, but we persevered.

one-way street sign

We decided to scope the place out. A few of us went inside, asked about prices and took note of the surroundings. It seemed innocuous enough, and so we opted to stay…until 1:30 in the morning. As shady as it seemed, we had A BLAST. Our little gang of singers had an unbelievable time busting out some of the most ridiculous and amazing karaoke tunes that we could muster. If you’ve never tried private-room karaoke, I highly recommend it. The lights flashing and the room jiving was everything. If my twinkle skirt didn’t make me feel alive this adventure sure did.

As we called our next Uber for the ride home, we were flying high on adrenaline and friendship. A night that surely wouldn’t be forgotten. When our driver arrived to pick us up, he seemed surprised to be collecting 5 30-something-year-old women, and we, of course, asked him about our location. He pointed out a few things that we had missed on our way in (a woman who was likely a prostitute, different establishments, etc) and told us that they called this stretch of road the OBT, known for the violence and crime rates. He even mentioned a recent murder that had occurred.

Welp. We survived that one, guys. 

We made our way safely back to the Hilton and hugged goodbye to each other until our next adventure. I proceeded to ask my next two Uber drivers about the OBT, and both were as surprised as anyone that we were hanging out down there. My driver on the way to the airport just shook his head and smirked like I was crazy.

I love saying yes to adventure.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Remind Me NEVER to Tell You I’m Not Funny Again.

So you remember last week, when I told you guys reasons I wasn’t funny? I thought I was having a bad week, because nothing eventful had happened and I had very little to share in the humor blog world.

Well, let’s just say I jinxed myself…Like a BOSS.

Friday morning…the day after the offending post…

Brian was running a wee bit late as we were heading out the door. I went down to start the car and left him with my keys to lock up. I thought to myself, Maybe I should leave his keys, take the spare and carry my own keys. I need them to get my laptop.

He finally came down with my keys and got in the car. Which gave us 3 minutes to get to the train station and for me to run to the train. I made it. BARELY. We got to the train and I hauled ass…thank God for the woman with the broken leg who requires the lift to get in. She’s my lifesaver. Sort of.

So I sat down in as close to my usual spot as I could get (after walking through the ENTIRE train–I got on at the tail end and sit in the first car) and started reading. 10 minutes before I got to Union Station, Brian texted me to see if I made the train and that he brought my keys down, but didn’t give them to me, so they were in the glove box.

Oh. My. God.

A slew of profanities rang out, causing other train riders to glare at me, as I called Brian.

Me: Are you on the train yet?

Brian: No, why?

Me: I NEED my keys. Need them. Need them. *panic*

Brian: Oh? Calm down. Relax. I can go get them.

I called my boss in a panic, crying, freaking out. Explained all of the possibilities. I realize now that I could have just said, “Hey Boss. Going to be late. Problems with the commute. I’ll be in soon.” Instead I told him my life story and made him listen. Hopefully he couldn’t tell I was in tears.

I called Brian back and told him that I was freaking out because I was going to be an hour late to work and sitting at the train station waiting and waiting with nothing to do but worry. He told me that he could just meet me around lunch time to bring me the keys…

What? Apparently my earlier thoughts hadn’t been verbalized about needing my keys for my laptop. Also, Brian volunteered to delay his trip into the city just so I could have keys to get home (which I wouldn’t really even need!) Best. Boyfriend Ever.

So Brian caught a later train, brought me my keys and I jumped in a cab. I was going to be about 40 minutes late. Not bad.

Now I have a tendency to take cabs when I’m running late or when it’s raining…so I know the regular route and fare. This driver passed the usual turn on Dearborn, and I thought to myself, The other cab drivers usually turn here. I’m pretty sure you can’t turn onto State Street from Jackson. He’s going to take me in a big circle to get a higher fare. Fuck that. He’s getting $7 no matter what. Jerk.

But alas, he turned onto State Street. From Jackson. Which is, in fact, illegal.

And did, in fact, get him pulled over.

I was in a cab that got pulled over.

I was 2 blocks from work, and without a second thought, I paid the driver and tried to get out. The cop was telling him why he was pulling him over, and I kept demanding, “Open the door, I need to leave!”

It played out like a scene in a movie, in which he unlocked the door and I ran. I’m pretty sure I even ran fast. And I don’t run unless I’m trying to catch a train…or I guess run from a cab.

I realized a block later that you probably shouldn’t RUN out of a car that just got pulled over…the police officer might think you did something wrong.

So my luck with the cops can be passed on to anyone who’s driving a vehicle with me in it. And people wonder why I hate driving anywhere.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!