Rain. That’s what greeted me when I hit The Peach. Rain. And not just a drizzle or a few drops. Sheets of torrential rain. At night. I’m following my friend who’s driving the U-Haul. (Insert lesbian joke here. But minus the lesbian. Because he’s a he, not a she. A gay he, but a he nonetheless) All I could think was, “please, Lamar, know where you’re going because the road, the barrier and the sky all look the same — a dismal gray mass. Oh my God, I’m going to die.” Let me paint, nay digitally present, the picture.
Here we have, Spaghetti Junction:
Welcome, how was your scroll? No really, take it in:
Now try driving through it. For the first time, in the rain, at night, following a queen jamming out to God-knows-what rendition of Donna Summer‘s greatest hits (rest her soul). This side of the road, now that side of the road. Little did I know that this is just how people in Atlanta drive. Oh, and if you miss your exit on this macabre merry-go-round, no worries. Just pull onto the shoulder, go into reverse and pick up where you incidentally left off. It’s just that easy!
Who’s brilliant idea was this? In what urban plan does this make sense? It brings to mind something I learned while studying advertising in college: design every advertisement assuming that the average adult who sees it has the education level of a sixth grader. That way, the majority of the populace will understand what you’re selling and more than likely buy it. I always get the image of a sidewalk full of monkeys who see an image and immediately run to go get it as fast as possible. Let’s face it, we act that way. I mean, I am the first to admit that I’m a shoe whore! But seriously, the biggest TVs, the fanciest cars, the blingiest jewels, the biggest houses (more often than not empty because they can’t afford furniture, but damn the house looks nice from the outside!). Image isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.
Atlantans, don’t get mad. Just look around. If you are sitting in a palace with no furniture, a chariot in the garage with no gas and a shoe collection worth more than the property in which it resides…? Capitalism is alive and well, my friends.
And I’m not mad about it. Do you, as Rasheeda from the infamous Love & Hip Hop Atlanta would say. As she holds on to her cheating husband, about to pop out another kid while rapping in her video, aptly titled “Hit it from the Back.”
But for the time being, I had no choice but to go along with it for my own well being. Like everybody else: approximately 800 of us, all moving to Atlanta any given day. Following…
Follow Lamar as he twists, turns (did he just hit the wall?) and finally pulls over at a gas station. We confer and agree that we’re a wee bit lost. For the younger readers, we did not yet have smartphones with sophisticated GPS Navigation. We were old-fashioned, with an address and, thankfully, some sense of direction.
We arrived at my new palace: a one bedroom, one bath in Buckhead. With no energy left to attempt unpacking the U-Haul that night, we dug out a couple of comforters and collapsed on the floor: me in the bedroom and Lamar in the living room.
I was officially a resident of Atlanta.