Pauline Harte

Incredible journey through the Twilight Zone

Pauline Harte · June 10, 1997

I spent most of last Wednesday in the Twilight Zone. I find myself in this fabled, fractured dimension quite often because I have absolutely no sense of direction. I set off to get from point A to point B and invariably find myself in point A½. Point A½ can only be found in the Twilight Zone.

I set off for Tarzana Hospital last Wednesday to visit my father. I was raised in the San Fernando Valley and went to school in Encino and Woodland Hills. Tarzana is the lunchmeat between these two slices of Wonder Bread, so I did not foresee any problems as I began my little trek.

My detour began when I took the wrong freeway. My mind wandered only for a moment, but that's all it takes to veer off into the fog of point A½. I picked an offramp that took me to Sepulveda Boulevard and planned to get back on the correct freeway "up there."

Suddenly I was faced with "Nordhoff Way" and "Nordhoff Place." I had been on this street a thousand times, and this had never happened to me! I picked one, figuring I would pick up Sepulveda on the "other side." Well, Sepulveda dead-ends at point A½. I never saw it again.

I found myself on Some Other Street. I drove up (down?) this mystery street for a considerable amount of time before admitting defeat. I noticed a perky little red Alfa Romero ahead of me whose driver looked like he knew where he was going. I decided to follow Mr. Alfa Romero out of this funky fog. A couple of eons later, I saw "Plummer Street" on a sign for the cross street up ahead. Cowabunga! I thought I was in the vicinity of Encino! Plummer is at the far reaches of the San Fernando Valley.

"You jerk!" I yelled out my window. "You're as lost as I am!" Mr. Alfa Romero turned right and I turned left. Soon I was in the bowels of point A½, climbing hills to nowhere. I turned back.

I found myself on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Canoga Park. I drove up to Sherman Way and turned left. Don't ask me why. I don't know. But this proved to be a good move because now I could find my way to Ventura Boulevard. Unfortunately, I should have made a right turn before I found myself in Studio City.

So I drove back from Studio City on Ventura Boulevard and finally arrived at point B. Tarzana! I pulled into Tarzana Hospital. It had taken me one hour and forty minutes to get there from Newhall, and my father had departed twenty minutes before I arrived.

I walked back from the elevator but decided to take the stairs to make up for lost time. Let me tell you, there are a couple of very spooky floors in that hospital that I know are not represented by any buttons on the elevator! Eventually I found my way back to the fourth floor and got on the elevator and made it to the lobby.

"Yes! Yes!" I shouted to a full lobby. I decided that chocolate was the only thing that could prevent me from possibly being detained overnight for observation, and I grabbed a couple of Snickers bars from the gift shop. I walked to my car, which I eventually found with the aid of a very helpful security guard, and after fifteen minutes of meandering around the parking structure I found myself at the exit gate. I could actually see the fog lifting! I handed the attendant my parking stub and a couple of bucks and bit into my Snickers.

The attendant seemed to be having a problem. He was ranting in some foreign language and was attempting to push my parking stub up my nose. I had half of a king-size Snickers in my mouth and couldn't speak at all. I looked at the stub. It was an Edwards Cinema stub.

I went through my purse five times and finally found the errant stub stuck to a Snickers wrapper between the door and the seat on the passenger side of my car. The gate was lifting! I burst through the opening and the Twilight Zone simultaneously. My journey home was uneventful.

Rod had finally taken pity on me.

I walked into my family room to find my kids watching "The Incredible Journey." I could hear Rod's laugh echoing through the halls of the Twilight Zone.

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