Welcome to My World
(Provided You Can Find It)

The conversation started reasonably enough, with the caller asking if she should take Scottsdale Road all the way to Bell Road.

"No, it would be better to turn right on the Greenway-Hayden Loop," I say.
"No, the Greenway-Hayden Loop."
"Oh, Hayden!"

Some geographical details might be in order here. There is a Greenway Road that intersects Scottsdale Road about a quarter mile short of Greenway-Haden Loop, but it dead ends in the Air Park. There is also a Hayden Road that parallels Scottsdale Road until it seems to end at Frank Lloyd Wright. It doesn't, though--Greenway-Hayden Loop becomes Hayden Road just past Bell Road, but more that in a moment.

"No, the Greenway-Hayden Loop."
"No, the Greenway-Hayden Loop."
"Oh, Greenway!"
"No, the Greenway-Hayden Loop."
"Oh, I think I know where that is. Okay, I'm on Greenway, then what?"
"From Greenway-Hayden, you go through Frank Lloyd Wright..."

I know the "though" seems a little sibylline, but after you go through Frank Lloyd Wright you have to turn right on Bell, which isn't hard all by itself, but Frank Lloyd Wright actually turns into Bell just past the Greenway-Hayden Loop. If you tell the caller to turn right on Bell, you are in for trouble because they know Bell is to the left. If they even ask for the name of the road onto which you want them to turn right you can bet the petty cash you've lost them already because they would not drive through Frank Lloyd Wright to get to Bell if you offered to pay them. If you threatened their families and their pets, they wouldn't do it. If you begged them to just trust you and take this tiny leap of faith so they could get to their job interview or sales pitch on time (their future is in the balance!), they would turn you down cold. I can't explain the phenomenon, but I've never seen it fail. They either insist on talking to somebody else who will give them the same directions (but they will believe the second witness, which is frustrating and unfair), or call you again when they are hopelessly lost.

"Greenway-Hayden...then what?"
"Go through Frank Lloyd Wright..."
"Frank Lloyd what?"
"Frank Lloyd Wright. Go through Frank Lloyd Wright and turn right at the next light."
"Okay, right at Frank Lloyd Wright?"
"No, through Frank Lloyd Wright, right at the next light."
"Right on Frank Lloyd Wright?"
"Will you please hold?"

I paged The Pain so she could deal with the problem. After all, she had contacted this interviewee (as it turns out) in the first place and it only seemed fair, but she didn't pick up the call.

"Okay," I say, "Through Frank Lloyd Wright, right at the next light. Then, turn left at Perimeter..."
"Right on Perimeter?"
"Left on Perimeter, then take the very next left. That's Hartford. We are just around the bend in the road on the left."
"And you are on Davenport?"

Bring me the head of the City Planner who named these streets. I would like to throw it at this caller. Thirty minutes later, she calls back.

"Okay, I'm on Frank Lloyd Wright...."

She never arrived.

(Written by Sharon C. McGovern)

From Vol. 6
Get Back to Work!