Sunday, March 06, 2011

An Education in Getting Lost

Yesterday was my first class at Simon Fraser University on Editing Fiction. For me and Wendy, my friend who is also taking the course, the day started at about 4am. Unlike the rest of the students, we are travelling from the Island over to Vancouver for this course. The class doesn’t start until 10am, but in order to get there on time, we have to catch the first ferry, then a bus and then get lost. But more on that in a minute.

The ferry was packed which struck me as odd for 6:30am on a Saturday in March. Until I looked closer at the passengers. They were all teenagers of varying ages. Some intrepid discussions with the one (1) parent who seemed to be overseeing the three hundred plus kids told me that there were multiple events on the mainland this weekend. Great. The ride on the ferry was anything but quiet, the teens running rampant, irritating the ferry workers and generally just hopped up on whatever sugary cereal their parents had fed them before leaving, knowing that they would have a child free Saturday.

Once the ferry docked, Wendy and I ran for the bus below. Why you may ask? Because the dang bus was scheduled to leave three minutes before we docked and of course, we didn’t know that the bus would wait for us. This running though cement hallways and down stairs got interesting real fast. Laptop bags flopping and panic at missing out bus rising, we passed teens as they dawdled their way to the exit. At one point Wendy lost sight of me as the teens flowed and ebbed around us like a living current, filling in any spaces left open.

We made it to the bus, sat down and breathed a sigh of relief. A good friend of ours had told us that if we took the 257 into downtown, from there we could see the campus and walk across the street to SFU. He was wrong about that. Nearing the end of the bus ride, the seats around us empty, I stood and asked the driver which stop would allow us to walk to SFU. The blank stare and shake of his head had my palms sweating in an instant. “No SFU on this route.” Left me ready to puke.

I sat back down. What the hell was I supposed to do now? Wendy had trusted me to plan the travel portion of our trip and here I was getting us stuck somewhere downtown nowhere near where we wanted to go. At the last stop we got off hoping that maybe the bus driver was wrong. There in front of us was not SFU, but a community college that shall remain nameless.

“They should where SFU is.” I say, confidence in my voice covering the fear that I had screwed up badly and we would miss our first class.

Security was the closest window in the college with people in it. I approached. “Can you tell me how to get to SFU Harbourside from here, I think it’s close.” I say, hoping that I will see a smile and a quick list of directions. The frown and subtle head shake weakened me to the point of having to put down my laptop.

To be sure though, the security guard pulled up Google Map and plugged in SFU. Low and behold, SFU Harbourside was one block down and one block over, a total of four minutes away. A sigh of relief passed my lips and Wendy smiled.

As we walked I mused on the truth I’d learned so far. Just because a major landscape exists within a five walking minute radius, don’t expect anyone who works in the area to know where the hell it is. Google map, is the only way to get directions.


Luke Raftl said...

I'm incredibly impressed that you are commuting such a long way for an English course!

May I ask if this course is part of your wider university studies? Or is it a separate course of particular merit? I ask as I am frantically editing, live in Vancouver, and think a course such as this might be interesting to pursue (or at least explore!)

On another note, always trust Google before an actual person. It is a shame it has come to this, but sometimes you need the security that only our incredible internet can provide!

Shannon said...

Luke, this is part of a editing certificate program at SFU. You do not have to take any other courses, nor have pre-requisites for many of the classes. I work full time so taking the full course at this point is not even an option.
Here is the link
Best of luck with your editing!

IndigoAngel77 said...

Ah Shannon, life is always adventurous when you are involved! I think all your friends are thankful for the spice you provide!

FuroreScribindi said...

Glad you made it, Shannon! What an adrenalin rush getting there.

Goes to show that Vancouverites don't necessarily know all the amenities that are right on their doorstep.

Looking forward to you and Wendy being our "in house" Editor/Mentors :)