How stupid was I?
I thought it would be a fun day.
Oh, was I wrong.
Let me ‘splain Lucy.
We had to go to town. We had a long list which included titling the new car, getting a registration and plates (so we wouldn’t be arrested as felons in New Mexico), getting a spare key for the car, (cuz we lose everything at least once), getting a padlock (for the POD so our stuff stays in), getting a thermos (must have already packed it), getting a GPS (to find our way to New Mexico), getting a cell phone (for when nothing else works), getting luggage (for our undies), getting a new purse (cuz I wanted one), getting potassium (cuz the Contrarian was getting leg cramps), getting another travel cup (cuz we only had one), getting food (so we won’t starve and never be found in the woods), and well, anything else that came to mind.
There is a DMV located near to where the Wal-Mart and grocery are, and the lock smith was not too far away, so I figured hey, we can have a rather fun time once the car business is concluded. So that morning as we are readying ourselves (takes time to get old people oiled up), he starts commenting about how to get from the “Courthouse” to the locksmith.
“Whoa there partner, what is all this talk about the courthouse?”
“To get the title and registration and plates.”
“Hey, the DMV is on Collins?”
“You get your license renewed there, not the title and registration. Don’t you know that by now?”
“Uh, no, that makes no sense. It’s the DMV DE-part-Ment of MOTOR V-Hickle see? Stuff to do with motorized contraptions is handled there.”
“Not in Iowa it’s not.”
“It is in Michigan and Connecticut–that’s the norm!”
” ‘Fraid not, sweets.”
Now the courthouse is in the mall in the southwest quadrant of Cedar Rapids. It’s in the mall because nearly 4 years after the flood, they still haven’t dried out something and moved back. So they are in a MALL.
Now let me ‘splain further.
Cedar Rapids is (I might add they are rather proud of this fact), laid out in a grid, which is split by a river called “the Cedar”. (catchy huh)? So there is the northeast, northwest, etcetera. So when you take down an address, such as 215 Candle Street, you are offering nothing worth a damn if it runs through more than one quadrant unless you have the appellation SW or NE attached.
And because it’s bifurcated by a river, it’s a migraine because not all streets cross the river, because of course would be prohibitively expensive to build all those bridges. Now numbered avenues run north and south, or as close to that as the blind man who surveyed the land could get it. Numbered streets run east and west, with the same proviso. Memorize those that cross the river, and those that don’t.
So we shop mostly in the northeast quadrant, which I’m familiar with to a degree. I stay away from the river. Now as far as I can remember, I’ve never even been in the Southeast quadrant, and I doubt it really exists. The northwest quadrant has a few things of minor interest such as a garden center (the plants usually die within a month of bringing them home, so don’t go there), and Wal Marts in a strip of giganto stores like Sam’s Club and Lowe’s.
So the southwest quadrant is no-human’s land. The blind surveyor became schizophrenic by then, and things went to hell. Streets and highways bifurcate each other at angles that you didn’t know were possible, and there is barely and up from down. Roads suddenly change into others and even massive stop light arrays are canted at angles to the roadway, serving three roads instead of two, and all in all it reminds one of trying to drive in Hong Kong. The only people who frequent the area regularly are geeks with protractors and slide rules who get off on all the geometry.
Needless to say, every time we go over to the event horizon, we get sucked into a loop of unending wrong turns, and hopeless entanglements of parking lots, and turn lanes that could not be achieved even if your car had a hovering capacity. Of course we have to go there regularly, for the courthouse thing, the Social Security office (they lose a lot of old people who simply die on the way) and the VA regional office. We get lost every time, every time.
No worse place can contain the Contrarian and I than in a car when we are lost. We disagree on which way to go. It’s awful. It’s simply awful.
But we found it, we did it. And finishing the car business, we proceeded to the lock smith. That only took roaming the side streets and finding it finally, after four turns, not on the street address but around the corner on another street, which runs perpendicular to it, but hey, they liked the other street’s name better, I guess.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to set the clock in the new car. Why does every car company have its own unique series of voodoo machinations to set the clock? Push the volume, and push the set button at the same time, then cross your eyes, and punch AM with your nose until the desired number arrives.
After giving up in frustration, the Contrarian offers this sage piece of advice.
“It’s easy babe (he’s not calling me babe actually because he’s still steamed from my last piece of advice of where he can put the last stop sign he almost missed which craning his neck to locate the lock man), just get a post-it note. How many hours is the clock off?”
“Three,” I eye him suspiciously.
“Okay, write subtract 3 on the post-it note and tape it just below the clock. Easy to know the time then,” he smirked.
“We’re returning to civilization dude, no more farmer-functional for me!”
And somehow we got the rest of the crap we set out to buy, and got home. Today we programmed all this stuff. That’s a whole ‘nother level of insanity.