Thursday, July 10, 2008

Navigate THIS...

Okay. As Margarete has previously stated, I’ve got a little bit of a directional disability. Now, you’ve got to understand that I never was this way until our move three years ago, to what can only be described as closer to the country than I ever wanted to be. Everything is so s p r e a d o u t h e r e….it’s all a bit…much. Honestly, I’m not much of a fan of the country. (Those of you that know me can stop rolling your eyes, thankyouverymuch.) If I have a choice between a lake or a beach, I’m always gonna pick the beach. And sitting outside at night is only fun if you’re not being eaten alive by the bugs, which means I’m the gal in the screened-in porch, “Can someone kindly hand me my cocktail, please?” Further examination of my twisted relationship with Mother Nature is evident when I recall a recent conversation I had with Tonia. She’d asked me if I wanted to go hiking with her one weekend (does she not know me at ALL?) and my response was an appalled “What? You mean OUTSIDE??”…a response she found highly amusing. As I’m vehemently shaking my head, she’s saying “Well, you won’t wear the shoes you’re wearing NOW” and “It’s not so bad…I could carry you most of the way” (now, she’s laughing)…needless to say, that trip is never gonna happen.

And so, in an effort to ward off shucking my 4” heels for “tractor-shoes” (or, whatever the polar opposite of 4” heels might be) and possibly picking up diction that includes “ya’all” or sayings such as “hope the rain don’t hurt the rubarb”, I inevitably find myself driving into the nearest “city” for a deep, cleansing breath of bus-belches and the ever-present music of sirens and the deep-bass of hip-hop.

Unfortunately for ME, the nearby “city” is not laid out nearly as effectively as THE CITY, (aka Manhattan) which I am able to navigate with nary a map in sight. In this poorly-designed “city”, they have an “arterial highway” that runs in one direction around the perimeter of “the city” and back out again. And so, one must travel the arterial highway and then figure out how to navigate the “left exit only”, or “right exit only” exits…whilst keeping all four tires preferably on the road and the screaming to a bare minimum.

And me without a navigation system. In the country. Where the streets are all numbered highways…but no-one seems to have clued Google Maps, Mapquest or Yahoo in on this simple fact. So, I’m heading into “town” (they call it “the city” up here, but I simply...can’t) and I’m armed with my handy-dandy Google map directions. I head into town on the arterial and I’m looking to make a right onto “N. Clinton Street” and this makes me smile. I’ve learned by now that it’s usually a good idea to know what the “before” street is, so I’ve got some semblance of control over where I’m going, so I’m looking for Simone Avenue first.

Up ahead, I make out a sign that looks like it says “S. Clinton Street”, but the right hand turn across from it is a highway sign with the number “9G” on it…NOT N. Clinton (which would make sense to ME)….what the hell? And so it begins…the inevitable downward spiral that will undoubtedly end with a complete and total breakdown…as I need to make life or death, split-second decisions: TURN HERE!...NO, WAIT! GO DOWN ANOTHER BLOCK…(you can always go around the block if you go too far, right?)….WRONG! ‘CAUSE THERE’S NO RHYME OR REASON TO THE LAYOUT OF THIS GOD-FORSAKEN PLACE. And did I mention that I’ve got a 10am appointment and that I cannot be late? I’ve allowed an extra 15 minutes for the inevitable traffic and extra traffic lights but I’ve got neither the time nor the patience to get lost yet AGAIN.

Three more turns…with names that either don’t match anything on my directions, or worse…no street signs whatsoever…and I’m officially unequivocally lost, as I turn into the parking lot of a concrete manufacturing plant. How do I know it’s a concrete plant, you ask? Because there’s a huge sign proclaiming “Chet’s Concrete Emporium” prominently displayed. I cannot even begin to imagine how the “Emporium” fits into Chet’s concrete world...and I've no time to contemplate it now. I’ve got one of those infuriating “fiber-thingies” in my eye and it hurts and I can’t see it and my eye’s watering and I’m dabbing it with a tissue, wondering (not for the first time) why I don’t keep a compact in my purse for just such a problem. This is one of those times where I wish I was a guy…no eye makeup to smudge and I’m sure they just dunk their heads under the faucet and are done with it. I’m simultaneously dabbing at my ever-reddening eye and rummaging through the papers on the passenger seat for the phone number of the radio station that I’m supposed to have arrived at…five minutes ago…when I hear someone tap on my window and I JUMP!

I roll down the window and here’s this guy (he could have been Chet, for all I know) and he says “Do you need some help, Miss?” and I’m already loving him because he called me “Miss” and I say “I am so lost and I am so late and I am so screwed and what is it with you people and your streets with no signs and numbers with no names and THE CITY this is NOT.”

And he says “No need to cry, now…I’ll get you to where you need to go” and I’m thinking “cry? I’m not crying…” but then I figure “Oh, what the hell…” and I sniffle loudly and give him the address I’m looking for. He brightens when he hears this and says “You’re not too far away, Miss. Take your first left, go to the second right and take a right. It’s about a quarter mile down on the left. Most of the street signs aren’t there anymore…don’t know what happened to them.”

I politely thank him and pull back out onto the unmarked street…then turn onto the block-with-no-name and then find my way to the building with the sign that’s half-obscured by trees that’s my final destination…and I’m golden once again.

Thanks, concrete-guy.

(Happy Birthday, Jackie-Deux! We party TONIGHT!!)

Anonymous said...

Yay! I guess the scales balance out-for all the wolf whistles we have to endure it's nice to know they like to help us. It's as though they're powerless once they glance our way!

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