On the way to the ferry terminal, I missed my turn and had to approach the terminal from a different direction (in WA, the Dept. of Transportation is very serious about tightly controlling ferry traffic). The terminal seemed different from my previous trip, but I had only visited this customer, via ferry, once before. And I had approached the terminal from a different direction (as noted above). I was feeling lucky because they began loading the ferry right away (no wait for the next ferry).
On the short crossing of about 30 minutes, I went through my voice mails, checked my email, and reviewed information for my upcoming customer visit. When I drove off the ferry into town, I was surprised because there were several cute coffee shops and bistros that I did not remember from my last trip. As a coffee addict, I pay attention to coffee shops.
Slowly...very slowly, my brain began to question my whereabouts. The departure ferry terminal was not familiar, and this town where I disembarked was very unfamiliar. About this time, I noticed a "Welcome to Kingston" sign. Brain was definitely kicking in, and it began screaming that Kingston was NOT my desired destination. I TOOK THE WRONG FERRY. I had gone to the wrong departing ferry terminal, and I was now many miles and a Puget Sound away from my customer's office. Honestly, my first thoughts were I am losing my mind. I am either suffering from early on-set dementia, or I am having a nervous break down. Since I was stone-cold sober and had not taken anything stronger than caffeine for days, a mental break-down was the only explanation.
I parked my car, confirmed I was in the wrong town because I took the wrong ferry, and I tried to pull myself together. It was a blessing that there were no negative consequences with my customer (it actually worked better for the customer to change the date). I got back on the ferry, and I moved on my to next appointment.
I am not convinced that I have not lost my mind, but I realize that my brain and I have been on the hamster wheel. Instead of focusing on one thing, I have been going through the litany of the "To Do" list - cheerleading sign-ups, blog for Zenerdgy, clean uniform for Tae Kwon Do, expense report for work, book trip to Dallas, ideas for fun, cheap, kid-friendly activities for Spring Break, call Granny, conference call at 7am tomorrow, and on and on and on.
As Ben reminds me, don't beat yourself up about a mistake, but answer "What have you learned?" I am not sure. But now I know...if you are not paying attention, you may end up many miles from where you want/need to be.