Suburban Confusion (216th new thing)

December 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

On Day Two Hundred Sixteen I found myself in Peachtree City, an area forty miles south of Atlanta where golf carts rule the streets (or at least their designated paths). I was working a freelance job in nearby Senoia, GA, but the production office and hub of the shoot was located at the Wyndham in PC.

The rainy Monday had me helping out with pre-production of an upcoming TI promo for his reality TV show which I think is now on VH1. My task for the day was mainly to run around the suburban town and pick up various supplies and shopping for the shoot.

This is what I learned about traveling throughout Peachtree City.

1. In the desire to look like a pleasant city, there is an incredible absence of signage. Even with my handy iPhone GPS I had the most difficult time finding large known stores such as Best Buy or Staples, much less smaller vendors like the Apple-affiliated PeachMac store. I had to phone the location no fewer than three times before I made it to their front door. “Where are you?” the sales person asked. “Um, by a big roundabout, next to the SunTrust bank. I see a GAP and Banana Republic.” “Go through the circle with the gazebo and we’re situated on the right.” OK. I followed the instructions, but no store. Turns out her right was my left. I was quickly growing to loathe the chic outdoor malls popular in upscale areas.

2. Medians suck. There were plenty of times I passed the place I was looking for, only to be limited by entry by a landscaped road divider. I made a ton of U-turns.

3. To complete the isolated suburban dream away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, this town is located ten miles from any major highway. And if there happens to be a car accident at the precise moment you are exiting I-85 to head to your destination, you have a bit of a wait before you can pass the wreck, with no alternate route. And then ten more miles before you actually reach PC.

So overall, my day’s experience in Peachtree City was riddled with travel woes. I’m sure the area is pleasant enough on a non-drizzly day when you know your way around, but for me, it was a soggy driving mess.

Road Gator Attack (147th new thing).

August 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

As I was calmly driving to work up I-85 on the 147th day of my 29th year I found myself once again having car troubles. This trouble stemmed from the remnants of a big ol’ tire rolling in front of my lurvely new (to me) car and smashing my front bumper. I was fine, just annoyed and a bit worried about the accrued expense this rubber may cause me. I’ve always thought I was a decent driver, but from the snow/ice incident in January and this lack of avoiding a road gator I now have my doubts.

Really, it wasn’t my fault. Had the driver in front of me been paying attention and not tipped the edge of the tread sending it hurtling backwards in a random fashion, I would surely have been able to avoid the collision all together. But he didn’t, and I didn’t, and the next day I had to take my car into the Progressive concierge service in exchange for something more drivable. If only public transportation were more feasible in the ATL!

Interstate free (122nd new thing).

August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Living about forty miles from work lends itself to a ton of highway driving every week. I usually tune out and plug in a podcast or NPR or turn to the oldies station and the drive flies by. But I decided to try a new, more scenic route to and from work on Day One Twenty-Two. I avoided the freeway completely and took the long way to work.

The trip wasn’t exactly scenic considering the main part of the journey was twenty miles up Buford Highway. But scenic is a subjective word, and there was much more to look at than the speeding cars up and down I-85. I was actually able to listen to nearly an entire Doug Loves Movies podcast in each direction, chuckling to myself as the panel played the Leonard Maltin game.

It felt like I stopped at the majority of the traffic lights on the way up north, so on the way home I decided to count how many green and red signals I got. The result was overwhelmingly positive (as in green). Out of 84 signals, I only stopped at 26. And counting, like any childhood car game, makes the journey go more quickly.

While I wouldn’t try to avoid the interstate every day (unlike in LA, in Georgia the highway is indeed faster), I did enjoy having something other than speeding cars to look at. Maybe I’ll start having a “Friday No Freeway” policy.

Day Twenty-Two. Stick Shift.

April 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

On Day Twenty-Two, I learned to drive a stick shift, in the US. I had sort of driven a manual transmission car in the UK once before when my travel mate lost his contact lens and couldn’t see to drive properly. I stalled at a round-a-bout. I’d also attempted to move my aunt’s car out of a parallel parking spot after the traffic warden let me know we were parked illegally. I tried to shift into first gear several times, each attempt inching me back down the hill toward a parked car. My six year old cousin was crying in the backseat as I freaked out. Finally my aunt and other cousin came running out of the store laden with shopping bags, just before for the ticketing officer became wise to our ruse.

Driving a stick shift scared me.

It didn’t help thinking about the fondness Patrick held for his car, a lovely gray Volkswagen Jetta. I’ve jokingly asked for a lesson in the past, but he was always quite reluctant to let me take his vehicle out on public roads. Apparently being 29 has matured me, because he was actually the one who suggested the driving lesson.

Patrick drove us to the empty Value Village parking lot near our house. It was kind of a perfect place. There was a mass amount of space and crazy road lines where the old DMV course once lay. He parked the car and we traded places. Ever the rational man, Patrick calmly told me what I was to do, and in which order. My heart pounded and I tried to absorb all the information.

In lieu of a detailed description of the experience, here’s a video of our outing.

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