Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Life in the Slow Lane

I went to Atlanta by myself. It was a 'mergency thing. I had been putting it off for a month. I had to deliver garlic, pick up some seed stock and do an errand for a friend. I do not take going into the innards of big cities lightly.

I checked the oil and water  in the massive 2.0 four cylinder, loud, tricolored 1982 Ford Ranger and pushed off from the shore and headed straight for the tidal wave, bow first. Only to go to Atlanta. Bow first. It's always an adventure going the distance in the Ranger. Never has it failed me.

My first stop was the Atlanta Farmers Market. I have heard of the place. Egad! I'm used to local farm markets. This place was Farm Market Hell. Tractor trailers, pickups, fork lifts...and all the buildings have numbers and names. I was looking for Georgia Tomato where I had some garlic seed stock to pick up. Go figure, I don't raise enough?

The picking up part took 3 minutes. Finding the right place was an experience. Language barriers, monster truck that don't see little pickups, and more tomatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and other "garden truck" than ought to be allowed in one place. It was truly an experience. I know now how diseases are transferred from place to place. The Ga State Farmer's Market is a "ground port" with no security.

Back out one Race Track I 85 and into the maws of downtown Atlanta, 10th Street to be exact. Hmmm, 1:45 gonna' be close gettin' out of here before Road Rage begins. Google DOES NOT make maps to get you in and out of downtown Atlanta. I knew that the streets were one way; one way or another. I went the wrong way to 10th, but stored knowledge of where Northside Drive and Howell's Mill Road were. I needed them to make my escape.

Back down 10th, and finally found my destination. Now to park. I found a fancy hotel parking garage and asked the taxi "Mater Dee" if I could park there. He was an obliging sort. He said, " Go on in deck, park and deliver whatever, and don't pay no attention to that little guy up there, he don't know his ass from a hole in the ground".

I did as told, drove right by the little assless guy. He didn't even look up. I got  into the fancy parking lot with Jags, Mercedes, and all manner of other high ends.  My little tri-colored Ranger started gettin a complex. I talked to her." Hey, those guys have four tires, a motor, radiator and steering wheel just like you do. Theirs just cost more"!

Got my business done, and a voucher to get out of the lot but lost the damn thing in the truck. Gave the little girl $2.00 and asked how to get to 10th Street. Three quick right turns...that was worth $2.00, and I was on my way. It was getting nye on 3:00 PM, Race Track Time in the City. Buckle up put on your shades and claim your space. I made one wrong turn, quickly rectified, and on the the last errand.

I made my drop in Doraville, came out of the building and saw I 285. Oh, My God, at the traffic. I am NOT getting on 285 at 5:00. Peachtree Industrial Blvd for me. I don't know where it goes, but it's not crowded and it's going North. Ran PIB all the way to Suwanee, Ga. and jumped on 85 N. No Problemo! Got that smug "foxed 'em again" feeling, and put the hammer down for home. I made it at 6:30.

I used to do this everyday. Fredrick Md. to Washington, DC. Forty miles of Interstate and side streets.  I got to school on time for 3 years running, even in the snow, and I didn't think anything about it. That was 1971, I was 10 feet tall and bullet proof at 30.

Home! I got out of the truck. Took a deep breath. Felt like I had split wood all day. I looked around at the trees, listen to the quiet, picked up the cat rubbing on my leg. This is more like it. Life in the Slow Lane!

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