Monday, August 31, 2009

Numbers Numbers Everywhere!

Saturday, I truly learned how different this great city I live in is compared to most other places I've lived (and apparently a lot of other places in the country). And, not so much that, but how acclimated I've become to this place that it's difficult to think any other way.

I was selling a bunch of stuff on Craigslist that I have been trying to rid of for a while now. I figured it's college time, so students may be interested if they're going to be living off campus or something maybe. Yes, I know May is a betterer time, but still. I was busy in May. I'll continue until I get it sold, but that's not the story.

The person who wanted my entertainment tower set (ya know, the things that hold your TV and all it's components) was a very friendly Indian guy. He had just moved to the Atlanta area from Minnesota (I'm sure he's thankful he doesn't have to deal with THAT winter). Apparently his line of work what he does is moves to a new place, buys what he can to furnish an apartment cheap (hence Craigslist), and sell what he can at the end of his stay before moving on.

He came to my place (after getting lost, which brings to light more of the fact I can't get pizza delivered to my house) to take a look at the tower set and said he wanted it. The problem was he came in a sedan and couldn't fit it. He was going to have mover people transport it for him and he wanted to negotiate. I didn't want to drop my price, so I increased it a bit and said I would deliver it for him since I have a truck and he was only in Dunwoody. Yay, he agreed.

Then came the complicated part. I asked whereabouts in Dunwoody he lived. He started out with something that sounded like "take 285 to exit 24..." and my eyes glazed over. I had to stop him and say "Ok, don't do exit numbers, I don't know them. Only street names."

Unfortunately, he partially misunderstood me because he started to explain that 285 was an interstate.

I chuckled at our minor language barrier.

When we got on the same page, I learned where he lived and said I would deliver it the next morning.

Then I got to thinking what exactly changed?

Everywhere else I lived, I went by exit numbers. Easthampton, MA is exit 17B on I-91. The exit I lived on out of college was exit 20 off 95/128. The exit that was commonly taken by people to get to my college (until you knew the shorter ways) was 28A. These were numbers I lived by.

Until Atlanta.

I couldn't even TELL you the exit number I live off of (ok, there would be a number of exits to take depending on which direction you're coming, but that's another story). I know the names of the roads, but not the numbers.

People who are new to the area want exit numbers. They get mad when I tell them I don't know the numbers, but can give them the names of several exits before the one I want them to take.

I think the difference is the sheer size of the city. In any other place I've lived, an exit takes you in the general direction of a town or city. Here, the exit takes you to a specific road name (until you get a distance outside the city, then it's a combination of the two).

Another theory I have is the people. I think it was up until the '96 Olympics here, there were different exit numbers depending on which direction you were traveling that would get to the same location. One direction the exit for North Druid Hills would be Exit 89. The opposite direction it could be Exit 84 (There were some exits that only existed on one side of the Interstate, so the numbers got off). Based on this, I think people decided to give road names instead of numbers because it got complicated.

Whatever the reason is, I hope that traveling to other parts of the country again doesn't get me confused as I'm looking for friends places. Of course, the great thing is I now have a GPS which will reduce the chances of me getting lost.

....Now, if only pizza deliveries can start using GPS to deliver to me!

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