Friday, June 25, 2010


It was an exciting day on Wednesday when I got to drive out to my boss' house to drop off some payroll stuff. She lives well off my beaten path between work, daycare, grocery store, and home, way out past Centerville (pronounced "Sinnervul").

Centerville is more of a crossroads with a gas station than a "-ville." It's a "spot in the road." There's the gas station and there's what I imagine to be a long-forgotten boot emporium, based on the fading sign with the picture of boots on it out front. That's the town. There are two signs at the crossroads, one that points to Mt. George on the right and one that points to Ola on the left. Centerville is really a town whose only function is to supply better directions to other towns. "Take a left when you get to Centerville."

There are towns like this on back roads all over the United States. Places where people just end up due to circumstances beyond their control and they're just as bewildered at being there as you are at anybody being there. They're not far enough out for true nature lovers to enjoy the countryside, and they're not close enough in for real professionals to get to work in a reasonable amount of time. They're just there, with their low property values and land that your great-grandparents bought on the advice of a misguided city planner, with their non-descript houses that all look exactly the same in your memory even though they're very different in actuality, places where nobody wants to live except those looking to be forgotten, people who just stay there on the crossroads functioning only to give better directions to other people. "Take a left when you start looking like me."

Although I was still excited about getting paid to drive my car and listen to music it was kind of a long trip back to work. I thought about my problems with making decisions, riding the fence on things, never getting off dead-center, turning in circles at the crossroads. After all, if you don't know where you're going how will you know when you get there? You'll know when you wake up in (aptly-named) Centerville.

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