Most days I love my phone. It functions as my watch, calendar, grocery list, camera and direct line into social media addiction. But on rare occasions I find myself about one push of the automatic window lever from flinging it into whatever pasture I happen to be rolling past. Saturday was one of those days.
I was running late out of necessity. Graduation ended fifteen minutes after my family reunion started, and I was over an hour away. I needed to make the accelerator and floorboard one if I was going to arrive by the time they said grace and lit into the food. Even a five minute delay and I could be staring forlornly into the bottom of a pot that had once boasted of my Aunt Patsy’s field peas. Sure, I could beat everybody else to her strawberry cake and cut myself a wedge the size of a football, but nothing makes full restitution for the loss of fresh produce. So with this culinary goal in mind, I punched the address into my phone GPS without looking at the map and took off. We’ll call this mistake number one.
Things were going fine for the first 45 minutes. I was singing Train at the top of my lungs and enjoying the sunshine when my electronic companion told me to hang a right. A right? That would take me south, and I needed to go northeast. It seemed fishy, but after all the trust this little voice had earned during my Maine trip, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. So I turned. Let’s call this mistake number two.
Landmarks are never a help in this situation because one herd of cows looks exactly like the herd you passed three miles ago, and for every dilapidated tobacco barn you see, you’ve missed ten tucked away under oak trees. No, once you’re in God’s country you have to rely on savvy, superior navigation skills, and the green road sign that tells you you’re heading about 70 miles out of the way, no matter what the British voice on the other end of that car charger thinks. Of course, once I pointed out the error of her ways, she immediately suggested an alternative route, so I turned on the first side road. For those of you keeping track, this one goes down as mistake number three.
Ever been on back roads in South Georgia? Well, you should know that Georgia specializes in peanuts, peaches, cotton and tobacco. But these are nothing compared to our true agricultural treasure which lies about half an inch under the soil: red clay. If we could figure out how to make folks want it so we could export it, we’d have more money than Saudi Arabia after a BP oil spill. But let me just tell you, no one in her right mind tries to tackle a red clay road in a Corolla. No one, that is, except Super Ditz, who is more concerned about creamed corn and broccoli cornbread squares than she is about the paint chipping off her car as she traverses a road meant only for vehicles with the insignia 4×4 inscribed on them.
About two miles and a couple of loose molars later, I emerged from the other side of a wheat field fuming about deviled egg depletion and wondering how many mechanics it was going to take to realign my axle. The sophisticated voice on my phone tried to convince me to head south, but I told her to put a cork in it and went by road signs. As it turns out, sometimes the old ways are the best. And get you to the food the fastest.
© 2013 – Traci Carver