Title credits go to Arlo Guthrie… I listened to NPR this week, and heard this song on ‘Songs from the Front Porch’ show.
I drove to Raleigh, NC and back this week. It wasn’t actually Raleigh, it was Durham, but I wonder if people would know where Durham is if you say "I went to Durham" because Durham is never mentioned by itself. It’s always an after thought tagged on the end of ‘Raleigh’. Raleigh-Durham Airport. Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area. I wonder who decided who comes first, Raleigh, or Durham. Maybe it’s just a population thing.
So if you say, "I went to Durham" people might say, "Where?" But if you say, "I went to Raleigh-Durham" they’d know.
Before I left I printed the directions from the internet. Directions from the internet have a bad reputation, but lately here in Georgia they ain’t too bad really. I used this recent experience to judge how internet directions fare in North Carolina. This was a mistake.
The hotel I was staying at was in Durham. Maybe this is the problem. Maybe the hotel should say it is in ‘Raleigh-Durham’ so the internets will know where it is located. I asked Google, "Do you know where Candlewood Suites is in Durham?" It said yes, and brought up a map. I didn’t look too closely at the map. I just looked over at the address and compared it with my reservations and said, ‘Yup, that’s the place’ and clicked ‘Directions to…’ printed them off, and went and got in my car.
Literally, I did exactly that. Well, I think I kissed Teresa goodbye once or twice.
355 miles later I start to have reservations about my map. It ends on NC Route 87. My hotel is on NC Route 54. Boyyyyy was it wrong. It’s still wrong. I looked it up a couple days later, and yup, it has no idea where the Candlewood Suites actually is in Durham (even though it thinks it does). It used to be it would direct you to the center of town and tell you, "I have no idea where you mean, but maybe this will be close." No… in this case it sent me 40 miles south-south-west of the Durham town center.
I had a bit of an ‘out-of-gas’ scare, too, because I was SURE that the exit the directions were telling me use would have gas stations… ALL exits have gas stations in metropolitan areas, right? Fact is I wasn’t in a metropolitan area… unless I was a cow. There were a lot of cows about. And the road that I turned off onto didn’t have gas stations, either. Just trees, roads, and cows.
But I get to the hotel and riding up on the elevator I notice the certificate shows the name of the NC Department of Labor commissioner, Cherie Berrie. I’m sure it is pronounced sheh-ree’ and not cherry, but the thought of someone person named Cherry Berry outside of a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon was uplifting. If my name was Cherry and some dude named Mr. Berry asked me out on a date I just might say, "No. It just isn’t worth the risk of marrying you."
Raleigh(-Durham) is an interesting place to visit on business. All of the buildings around there must have cafeterias because there are extremely few chain restaurants. No TGIFridays, Longhorns, Chili’s, etc. Plenty of fast food, though. I remembered my phone had a GPS functionality on it so I open it up to look for restaurants. Eureka, two exits down… a Hooters!
I took a magazine with me to read, because there is very little to look at when you’re in a restaurant named ‘Hooters’ (ahem). I go in, sit down, don’t bother to open a menu because I have a standard order at Hooters (10 wings, breaded, medium w/fries and ranch) and start reading my Bluff Magazine (it’s about poker).
Waitress asks me what I’m reading.. I show her.
"You play poker?" She asks.
"Yes, I do," I say.
"Cool, online?" She asks.
"Yes!" I say, impressed she knows a) that you can play poker on the internets, and b) it’s called ‘online’.
She takes my order, brings me food, I eat it, she comes back…
"Do you wear sunglasses when you play?"