April 1, 2009 17:44

So this past year for Christmas my wife and I decided to get our immediate family books. Like, our “theme” was to get everyone a book.

We came up with this idea, of course, on the Saturday before Christmas on Thursday.

I figured we would just go to Barnes & Noble, pick up like 6-7 books and be done with it. My wife though decided to get online and make a wish list of the books we thought would be perfect for everyone.

Of course, for various reasons the books will not be delivered in time if we had ordered them online. Like, some would but some wouldn’t. And the ones that wouldn’t are not in the local Barnes & Noble here in Frisco, they’re in stores scattered all over the Metroplex. And some can only be found in Borders stores.

But, being the awesome guy I am, I tell my wife to heck with it, I’ll go pick these things up on the way home from work. Yes it will be a bit of driving but hey, why not? She tells me I’m awesome and I go “reserve” the books using the online “hold in store” bit that both Borders and B&N have on their sites.

Over the course of the next day I wind up whittling it down to four bookstores in the Metroplex. So about 6 PM when I’m done with work (yeah, kinda started out late) it’s freezing outside, pitch black dark but hey no worries – I have the iPhone now with Google Maps!

This is all in the DFW Metroplex, so locals can laugh at how dumb I am…

So I head to the first one, a B&N on Preston, a few miles from my workplace. I go to the register, they have the book I reserved, and the stoner kid says “woah, cool – a lot of times when people reserve stuff online we don’t have it!” – given that I have like six more books to go across three stores this isn’t a good sign.

I head to the second one, a Borders on Preston. I pull into the wrong shopping center with the wrong Borders because I saw “BORDERS” and freaked out. Got back on the road, passed the real “Borders” because the sign is covered by trees somehow, turnaround and get Book #2.

I then plot out the third store, a B&N on Beltline in Dallas. The trip is 29 miles and 40 minutes away but who cares, I need to get these books, right?

So I’m driving and driving and driving and it’s still freezing outside, raining a little, dark as heck, and I have no idea where I’m at or where I’m going but Beltline is a longass road so I don’t think anything of it.

Towards the end of the trip one of the “roads” Google has me turn on is actually a turn-in to a parking lot. Like, I thought I had screwed it up but as I look down I see my little blue dot on mu iPhone going across the “road” in the parking lot so I figured “whatever” and kept going.

I turn onto Beltline and I’m really close now, so I keep looking for the B&N. At some point though the road stops. Like, dead-end. Not sure I’m technically on Beltline anymore since I thought the idea was Beltline was a loop or went on forever or something. Suddenly I’m at someone’s farmhouse with like cattle and shit. OK, so I overshot it right?

I redo the calculations on the Google Maps app and sure enough I drove right past it.

So this time I turn around and look real close and at some point I realize that there’s nothing but residential houses where Google has told me to go.

No big deal, I’m sure it was an approximate location and it was in some strip mall I passed, right?

Only then do I see that Google has not sent me to Dallas but rather to Grand Prarie, TX.

See, when I told Google “5301 Beltline Road, Dallas, TX” it said “hmm, I don’t see a 5301 Beltline Road, in Dallas, TX, but I do see one in Grand Prairie, TX, which is near Dallas, TX, I assume he meant that” and sent me there.

And me, seeing “Dallas, TX” on the B&N website and realizing that it would be a ways from Allen where I work just sort of assumed that this long-assed distance was normal. I didn’t think to check the endpoint close enough.

It should be clear by this point that I have no sense of direction, a condition exacerbated by the darkness and just enough rain to be annoying and not enough to actually merit windshield wipers.

So I fire up Safari on my iPhone and go find the location on the Barnes & Noble website. I find the phone number. Only I either have to briefly memorize it or write it down because the iPhone does not have cut and paste nor is it smart enough to figure that if there’s a phone number on this website for some reason that you might want to click it to call it (usually it can). So I have to hunt down a pen in my car. And I can’t find one. I’m in the parking lot of some kinder care center in motherfucking Grand Prairie, TX, and I can’t find a pen. I have to dig one out of my briefcase.

So I write down the phone number on paper using a pen so that the Jesus Phone can dial it (note, I love my iPhone but damn). The phone number tells me where the B&N is.

It’s in Addison. Like, right near where I was earlier in the night.


For the sake of reference, here’s a map of how far I was from where I needed to be.

See, the DFW area does this weird thing with some cities where they’re occasionally considered the city of their name and occasionally considered “Dallas”. So in this case the store is in Addison but it was listed as being in Dallas. I have a relative who for years lived in “Dallas” but he really lived in Carrollton. It was like this weird pimple of Dallas in the middle of Carrollton and if he had people send him mail as Carrollton it wouldn’t get delivered to him but if it was addressed to “Dallas” it would.

On my way out of Grand Prairie, I stop at a McDonald’s to get some fries because at this point I’m starving. The woman who handed me the fries was the most terrifying person I’ve seen in a while and the fries were stale. Pretty on par for the evening.

So I drive all the way back to Addison and find the store. At which point I had the one smart thought I had all night – the fourth B&N was the local-to-me one and the only reason they had the remaining books is because those books are easy to find anywhere, so I picked up the rest of the remaining books and headed home to Frisco.

All told it took me like 4.5 hours but hey, at least we got all the books.

So yeah the moral here is – I rely way too blindly on technology and still can’t maneuver for shit in the Metroplex. But I got nearly caught up on my podcasts so it’s all good.