Thursday, January 20, 2011

A random act of kindness....

I had to go to Atlanta today for my boss, to renew his dealer tags at a DMV office near the Atlanta airport.  I had maps, knew where it was, even  had a blow-up map of the I-75 interchange so I could see the ramps clearly.  Unfortunately, Google Maps screwed this up royally.  I drove past the interchange at first, because the turn off is a long way before the interchange and none of the streets listed on the sign matched the road I was looking for.  Just at the point where I couldn't make the exit, there was a DMV sign up ahead on the exit road itself, not on the interstate before the exit.  OK.  I drove on down to the next exit and turned around.  Not that far.  Again, when I got to the exit there were several street names, but none that I was looking for.  It's a complicated interchange and hard to describe, but after I got on the exit road I had a choice whether to take the first road or another further down.  Since I knew I needed to cross the interstate, I took the first one and just as I got on it I saw another DMV sign, past the turn I took and hidden by trees.  No way to see it before that point.

OK. With no other option, I drove to the stop light planning to turn left over the interstate and see if I could find the place.  I noticed a motorcycle cop pull up behind me, caught his eye in my rearview mirror and he smiled.  Wishing I had a way to ask him how to find the place, I deliberately put my map up on the steering wheel and bingo, he pulled up to my right and asked what I was looking for.  I told him, but traffic started moving so he told me to make my left then pull up on the right.  I did that -- blocking a traffic lane on the bridge -- and he pulled up on my left and told me I should have taken the other street (which I already knew), then said the best way to get there now was to 'make a U-turn here, go to the first left and take it', etc.

Now, we're sitting on the right hand lane of a four lane road with a lane-wide median in the middle.  "Are you gonna let me make a U-turn here?" I asked.  "Yep.  I'll stop traffic for you."  And then he did just that.  Turned his lights on, made sure all traffic behind us stopped, pulled into the next lane, motioned me to come, and he stayed beside me until I crossed the shallow median and headed back in the other direction.  Now, that is not something you see every day!  I don't know if he was a city cop or state, didn't even notice, but he certainly made me feel great.  Found the place just fine after that.  The road I needed was Henry Ford III Parkway but Google Maps listed it as Old Dixie Highway.  See why I was confused?

Anyway -- after two solid hours dealing with the DMV (the incompetency of which I don't even want to talk about right now), I got the stickers and headed off to the Archives, which aren't too much further south. After registering, putting my bags and other things into a locker, I was allowed to take my laptop and my folder of paperwork inside.  No pens, no bags, nothing where any of their paperwork could be hidden.  Spent a couple of hours looking at microfilm from 1815-16, didn't find a thing that was usable.

I tell you, if I had any lingering doubts about why I don't go into Atlanta more often (this was the first time in 15 years unless you count flying in two years ago, when all I did was drive straight to Cedartown and back at off hours), those were all dispelled with this trip.  In one word:  t-r-a-f-f-i-c!  It was horrendous when I lived there, and hasn't gotten any better.  I was on the outskirts, too, the entire time.  I could see the downtown skyline in the distance, and that was close enough, thank you very much.

So -- now I'm pooped and ready to chill for awhile.  I sure won't forget that nice cop anytime soon.

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