Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

We’re taking a break today from the topic of abortion.  Everyone can relax.  Let’s go on a journey with me.  A journey to suburbia, Midwest, USA.  I drive a lot for my job.  Usually I have my trusty GPS with me to guide me through what ever road jungles I encounter.  Darling G is currently guiding my mother and her friends on their golf trip to Arkansas so I had to go it alone today.

Alone, well, not alone like in the 80s where that meant a map.  Alone today in 2012, I had a  list of addresses and my iphone with my map app at the ready.  I put my address in and away I went.  I drove to a part of the city that when I was growing up used to be a rural town, but now has blossomed and latched onto the city as a suburb.

I got to the suburb easy enough, it was highway all the way.  Then it was side streets.  The suburb had lost it’s rural charm and was now one strip mall after another strip mall.  I’m not bashing the usefulness of the suburban strip mall, but when one is depending only on a red, green and blue dot to get around, it is far from helpful.

I found my addresses easy enough, but what I wasn’t paying attention to was how far away from the main city I was going.  I looked down at my travel mileage thingy (I’m not very car savvy-I own this) and it said 70 miles. I decided to turn around and get back to the highway that would get me back home.

I typed in my home address into my trust i-Phone.  30 miles.  Okey dokey, easy enough.  I start driving.  One beige suburb.  Another beige suburb.  Suddenly I have no idea where I am.  I’m following my blue dot.  Since I’m GPSless, there is no calming female voice telling me how many feet I have left until I have to turn.  I judge by the blue dot how many feet I have left and BAM I pass it.  Ok, next street and BAM I pass it again.  Suddenly, I am in the bowels of unfamiliar suburbia.

I am no longer in beigeville.  I am now in some alternative universe where all of the houses are painted only three colors: Mustard Yellow, Brick Red and Patriotic Blue.  It’s a new suburb, probably only 5 years old at most.  The houses are very close together, but it is surrounded by farm land.  The streets have roundabouts instead of stop signs.  Note to suburban planners:

1.  This is the Midwest, do not put roundabouts in.  Have you ever seen us at a 4-way stop?  We can’t even figure that out and now you want to add roundabouts?  Seriously?  Unless you are going to have somebody directing traffic, we, Midwesterners, are way too nice and will sit at the yield sign FOREVER waiting until absolutely NO ONE is in the roundabout before proceeding. That’s just the way we are.

2.  Close together housing and town homes (I witnessed both):  When you are surrounded by farmland on 3 sides, is it necessary to be so close to either a. share walls with your neighbor or b. offer your neighbor breakfast out your window and your neighbor be able to accept and grab the plate from your window? Come on people – there is plenty of land, spread it out.

There I was in Candyland and suddenly my blue dot disappears!  It disappeared! Sweet Jesus, I was no longer in i-Phone world.  No map, no GPS, no i-phone.  I was gone.  Panic set in.  I thinking about what my grandmother would have done.  It was a 1950’s experience people.  I thought, I’ll just drive east.  Wait, no navigation system to tell me which way is east!  Where is the damn sun?  I was a girl scout for like 5 minutes!  After being convinced I was going to die in Candyland I suddenly popped out onto a main road.

On the main road, my blue dot reappeared.  I exhaled with relief.  I was back!  My blue dot was back.  I was somebody again.

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