Pluto: THIS IS AN EX-PLANET!

You know those days when you feel so small and insignificant that you can’t imagine how you’ll be able to hold your own?  When you look at yourself, and suddenly you seem like less than you were before… and the universe around you seems so much bigger; you lose your way wandering through a strange and erratic orbit from home to work and back to home…

These are plutoid days.  These are dwarf days.  Days when I am neither a planet nor a satellite, when I look out at the vast net of space-time around me and feel I hardly make a dent.

They are also the days when I get lost for an hour looking for a street that doesn’t exist.

Turn right and head toward Pluto

Head toward Pluto, they said.  It's simple, they said.

For those of you that don’t know, I have agoraphobia.  And so accurate directions are incredibly important for me, especially when going alone to unfamiliar places.  GoogleMaps let me down on this one.

It’s 7:10 AM.  It’s still dark.  I left the house an hour ago.  I spend about thirty minutes wandering up and down the street Cerro El Plomo looking for where to turn onto “Plutón.”  I get excited when I see the street “Urano,” only to be let down: the next street looks way too bustling and popular to be Pluto (but hey, maybe it’s the Kuiper belt).

At this point, I cannot think clearly; anxiety and panic become crippling.  I cannot pull myself together enough to ask for directions.  So I backtrack, find a bench, and after about three minutes of letting myself clear my head, I realize that I can simply turn onto the next available street, as I knew Presidente Riesco was parallel to the street I was on.

Then on to the part where I feel like a country bumpkin.  I approach the counter to ask how to get to the office I’m looking for.  I am asked to show ID that I don’t have with me: a carnet (Chilean ID card) or my passport.  The man lets me get by with my driver’s license and tells me that when I get past security to the elevators, I need to use elevator ‘G’ for floor 13.  What?  There are elevators for specific floors?  I managed on the way up, but on the way down… I was pretty confused.  I had to enter the floor number into a number pad on the wall that then indicated which elevator to take… but I still ended up at floor -3 instead of 1.

Anyhow, I made it.  But I’ve felt like Pluto ever since.

***As a post script, I feel the need to explain: this week’s title is a reflection of the strange feedback and disjointed thoughts that have been orbiting my mind’s hallucinations of reality, which are brought on by a combination of lesson planning, watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and subsequent  inspiration to learn to program in Python.

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