Wednesday, October 12, 2011


October 12, 2011

Skreeeeeeee! Expletive deleted. The veins on the side of your head are sticking out because they’ve done it again and it’s enough to make you wanna kick someone’s... well, you know.
Driving a mile along Criswell Road you’ve suddenly had to slam on the brakes because right in front is that infuriating sign: ‘Road Closed’. Less than startling news, this, because their “advance notice” is planted right there in the pile of dirt they’ve been digging out.
Similar situation more recently on Pannell Road: the message just a few yards from the earthworks, causing Road Closed Rage again. Then on Monroe’s busiest streets two more exasperating holdups and never any warning signs until you’re sitting there. A needless headache, however Lady Luck has placed you slap bang outside the CVS pharmacy.
Pull into the lot to pick up some Tylenol. Past the big sign that says Drive Thru. Follow round to the service window and then there’s another notice: Drive Thru Closed For Scheduled Maintenance. The applicable word now is @$$#*/+$!. Screamed. Loudly.
As with the road works, a heads-up would have avoided the headache. But that requires some forethought and there aren’t too many folks doing that “thinking” thing these days. Anyhow, the sign says the maintenance was scheduled, which means they already knew about it ahead of time.
CVS is on the corner of Broad Street and Alcovy. Is it really Alcovy or Alcova? The Georgia Unemployment Office says it’s located at 226 Alcova Street, some yards up from B&B Small Engine on Alcovy. And the Walton Regional Medical Center is listed as being at both 330 Alcovy and Alcova.
The Parole office is also at 226 Alcova whereas the Department of Juvenile Justice is in the same building but at “Alcove Place”. Which is it? UBD judge.
The Mystery Of The Road That Doesn’t Know Its Name – quite a concept. It’s such a head-scratcher for strangers, too, because this thrice-named thoroughfare is also the Monroe-Jersey Road and on many maps it’s shown as James Odum Road.
Walton County’s proud little mountain is the last and least in the Appalachian chain, not counting the rock on my property under which I’m convinced Newt Gingrich lives. The local Creek indians named it Ulcofauchatchie. It’s Alcovy, while the Baptist church that lies sort-of in its short and stubby shadow is Alcova. So what’s the big deal: Alcove Schmalcove. Close enough, right?
Until recently you’d be heading for Bogart along 78 and see Locklin Road next right. Take it and you’d find yourself on another street altogether - Lockland Road, as the street sign proclaimed. They could have called it Lock-make-up-your-own-ending Road, but then some local wag would have offered up Lockupyourdaughters Road or somesuch. Lockstockandbarrel Road for the gun crowd.
A little further along there’s Clotfelter Road, but only at one end; at the other it was Clothfelter with an ‘h’ until eventually someone notified the local authority. Oh they rectified the problem, kinda. They swiped a lick of green paint over the ‘h’ to make it Clot Felter. Two words.
Hey, that fixed it. Finally they did get it right, but one has to wonder: is ‘that’s good enough’ really good enough?
“Speed Hump”. Hublupp! Hublupp! Owww! The sign was right at the boneshaking bump. You’ve just run over one of those enemies of the automobile known in Britain as “sleeping policemen” and cracked your noggin on the roof. Back for more headache pills.
Then there are those white stop lines at crossroads and T-junctions placed at least a bus-length back from where they should be, and therefore dangerous. Searching for the reason took me to Fairyland, where I found Jack’s beanstalk buddy, the giant, who admitted Walton County had hired him. “Through-oute ye shire,” they commanded, “ye shalle at eache intersection taketh one pace back and there maketh a whyte marke, forsooth.” They used Fairytale English to make sure he understood. They added “forsooth” because it sounded good.
The giant did a great job and painted the line one brobdingnagian stride back from each intersection.
We should never rely on those electronic signs on the interstate. They claim all is clear but oh-h-h no, not so fast. In fact not fast at all. Try maddeningly slow because down the road apiece all lanes but one are closed for resurfacing. The DOT’s electronic switch jockeys are sleeping on the job, is my guess, or playing cards, probably prattling on the phone with their friends about hairdos and boyfriends...
And, as at CVS, this wasn’t an unexpected circumstance. It was pre-planned work, so an early alert would have given some motorists the option of taking an alternate route.
If rage is too strong a word then maybe Road Displeasure. Road Irritation. You’d think they’d think. And some do take pains to try.
Speaking with a county official on the phone and there’s this terribly long pause. “You still there?” A few more moments’ silence and then he says: “I was thinkin’ in my head.” In his head! Good start. Far better than thinking out your... well you know.


© 2011 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.