Excuse me. Could you tell me how to get to Arlington Avenue?
The question was presented to me as I was getting gas for my truck at a little quick shop near Furman. I pride myself on knowing how to get around Greenville, one of the most confusing cities for driving in the whole of the United States. So normally a question like this doesn’t bother me, and I can quickly give directions and the best route. This time, though, I was stumped.
“I’m sorry, I think there is an Arlington Street in Greer, but I can’t think of an Arlington Avenue in Greenville right off.” The next series of questions really baffled me…
“This is North Carolina, right?”
“No, ma’am, this is South Carolina”
“Do you mean this isn’t Greenville, North Carolina?”
“That’s right. Greenville, North Carolina is quite a ways from here.”
“Well, how far away would that be?”
“At least two or three hundred miles, maybe a bit more. I normally keep a map in the car and could show you, but I don’t have one with me right now.”
At this point the woman looked completely exasperated. Her husband (I assume) was in the passenger’s seat zonked out this entire time and hadn’t said a word. She got out and went into the shop to find a map and I continued filling my truck.
I pondered how someone could get into such a fix. Laura had an instrument repairman fly into Greenville, NC by booking a flight to the wrong city. He had to rent a car to drive to Furman. This didn’t appear to be the case. The car looked like their personal vehicle, and they looked like they had been driving a long time already.
I guess it depends on where they were coming from. If they had started somewhere to the southwest, such as southern Alabama, etc., then they might have taken I-85. In that case they weren’t too far out of the way. They just hadn’t driven far enough, and thought they had arrived when they saw the signs for Greenville. If they came from Florida, or from somewhere up north, then Greenville, SC would have been quite a detour.
Regardless, I hope they get to their destination safely. I felt a little like one of those local yokels that tells everyone, “You can’t get there from here.” I did resolve right then and there to make sure that I had maps for South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia always in my car.