I read “Cold Mountain” several years ago and I figured this guy Inman was a figment of the imagination. I mean, really, how could a fellow spend a year wandering around the Blue Ridge Mountains? How hard is it to get home?
Well, I have to take all of that back. Here I am in Asheville, armed with a compass in the car, a more or less accurate GPS and mapping system in the form of my iPhone, and until now, a fairly reliable sense of direction. But none of that seems to be effective here. Every friggin turn I make is wrong, I have constantly had to turn around and back track, and a destination that should take 15 minutes has taken more than an hour – more than once in the day today.
Here’s part of the problem. Every friggin road has at least three names. Some regular name (that’s entirely too similar to the road that crosses it, like “Fairview” and “Fairmont”), a state road name (like 210) and some other numerical name (like 74). Secondary to that is the fact that there are no street numbers, so when you’re looking for 802 Fairview/240/74 for example, there’s no way to tell if you’ve gone past it or have even reached it yet. And even though the car compass is fairly accurate, because there’s no point of reference like an ocean or ONE mountain (there are about a million around here) and because the roads wind in every direction up and down and around, getting turned around is pretty much guaranteed.
Oh and did I mention that in this fairly small town of 74,000 people, there are about 5 highways that curve, wind, cross, circle and intersect?
So Inman, my apologies. The fact that you made it home even for a day to impregnate Nicole Kidman before getting shot by the home guard is amazing.
I wonder how the Yankees were able to capture this part of the state – how could they find their way? But then I’m guessing the rebs were equally as lost most of the time – as evidenced by Inman, who grew up in these hills.
As beautiful as it is here (and yes, it is amazingly beautiful) I could never live here – I’m not sure I’d make it home in time to get pregnant…..oh, never mind.