Friday, June 05, 2015

Solo flight

Note: I had originally written this post last week before I knew about the problem with Blogger and Windows Live Writer. I haven’t made any changes to it because, well, I just didn’t feel like it.

As I have mentioned before, this is my last week of rehab.

With my last week comes my orientation and mobility final exam. For those that don’t know, that’s the class where I learn how to get around using a white cane, public transit, etc.

The final exam for that class is a tough one. This morning, I got dropped off without being told where I was and had to get to a restaurant of my choosing by myself. Well, not completely by myself, I could have others help me find things, help me cross streets, etc., but I couldn’t hop in a car with someone or anything like that.

Because I’ve been there and I know it’s good, I chose to go to Alice Cooperstown.

After Tom dropped me off, I spent some time figuring out where I was. Thanks to GPS on the iPhone, I was able to determine that I was on Thomas just west of 16th street. Once I had that figured out, I loaded up the Google Maps app and had it give me a few options on how to get there using the bus or light rail. I chose which route I wanted to take and took a seat at the bus stop, which I had been conveniently dropped off at.

When the bus came, I hopped on, swiped my pass, told the driver where I was getting off (I was taught to do that instead of to hit the button when my stop is announced), and found an empty seat.

When my stop came up, I walked east to the corner of Thomas and Central Avenue. From there, I crossed Thomas to get to the stop for the southbound Central bus. At this point, I could have hopped on the light rail, but Google Maps said that the bus route would be a little quicker and it meant less street crossings since the station is in the middle of Central. Someone who was there helped me find the bus stop and I sat for a few minutes before the bus came.

It was when I got off of that bus downtown near 1st Ave. and Jefferson that my adventure really began.

At that point, I changed over to Apple Maps on my iPhone so I could get walking directions to the restaurant. According to that, it was only about a 7 minute walk away.

That 7 minutes took me a good half hour.

Downtown Phoenix is pretty confusing to me, and I don’t know it all that well. Plus there was some scaffolding set up on the sidewalk. After trying to figure it out for myself, I got some assistance locating Jackson St., the street I needed to turn onto so I could get to Alice Cooperstown, I headed down the street towards it.

Thankfully Jackson isn’t a busy street, because at some point between 1st Ave. and 1st St. I wandered out into the street. I realized it just as Tom, who had been following me at a distance the entire time, came up behind me to tell me.

I moved back over to the sidewalk and made it to the corner of Jackson and 1st St., where I got confused again. It’s easy to get confused in that area since there isn’t much traffic to give you sound cues. So, instead of simply crossing the street, I managed to make a turn and start down 1st St., taking me farther away. I knew I’d screwed up somewhere, but I wasn’t sure where. I backtracked and tried to figure out where I was, but had some problems doing so. After a good 10 to 15 minutes of me going around in circles, I ran into a guy working in the area that got me pointed in the right direction and made it.

Even with a few shaky moments, I did manage to get there and passed the final with flying colors.

I really felt like I’d earned that Cuban sandwich.

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