Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Two Roads In, No Way Out

Mathews County is an isolated peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water. There are only two roads that come into the county: Route 198 and Route 14. All other roads dead end to water, to nothing, or to another road that eventually dead ends or connects back to 198 or 14. (Whew. I'm exhausted. Either this is way too complicated to explain, it is way too boring, I've used too many numbers for my mathematically challenged brain, or I need a nap. OK, so it's boring AND I need a nap. The End.)

You'd think this geographic layout would make for some easy navigation. For example, to the left is water; to the right is water; so let's just go straight ahead or turn back around and go the way we came. But I believe Mathews has one of the most complicated road systems known. To man. I don't know how many miles of backroads we have, but a conservative estimate would be four million.

If you EVER accidentally veer off one of the two major roads, you can expect to surface ten miles from where you first got lost, and only after a search party has been sent to hunt you down.

An old saying around here is "up the road." If someone is up to no good, they're usually "up the road" both literally and figuratively. Teenagers are always up the road. Strangely, soccer moms are never up the road, even though they spend a good part of their day driving up the road. It's a very complicated science, this Up the Road business.

I'm convinced that the genesis of this saying has to do with some poor soul, on a journey "up the road," who took one wrong turn and ended up in a winding web of backroads so convoluted that they just pulled over, took all their clothes off, and went running like a maniac into the woods.

To drink corn liquor.


Icey said...

Okay, so I'm coming a bit late to the party so bear with me as this may be a long post (best way to postpone work related activities) ...

When I got to UVA in 1982 I had no idea there was a place called Mathews County, VA or where it was but living with you I soon learned some additional Mathews vocabulary you neglected to cover in prior posts:

"in the floor" - on the floor

"ugly as a mud fence" - I still don't know what a mud fence is, but I do know that whatever they are they must be darn ugly!

"hard as a brick bat" - likewise, I have no idea what a brick bat is, but whatever it is must be very damn hard

"creek" - a huge expanse of water large enough to water ski on (vs. the Northern VA definition which would be a small trickle of water meandering over rocks down to the river)

I am sure I will eventually come up with others. At least my Mathews vocabulary is publishable, unlike one of only 2 Swedish phrases I have retained from language lessons from our other roommate Lenja ...

In relation to the current post, I can attest to the arcane Mathews road network. I recall a family visit where my husband and I decided to take our kids out for ice cream. After 45 minutes of riding "up the road" we somehow arrived in Gloucester, and at the "t" in the road was a brick building with a neon sign saying "Highs Ice Cream". We hopped out of the car and rushed to the door only to find that the building was a laundromat (or maybe in Mathews it's called a laundry mat - I am not clear). And yes, as of last August, 4 or 5 years later, it is still a laundro (laundry) mat labeled "High's Ice Cream"

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

HAAA!!!! I hereby dub you an honorary Mathewsonian. You have not only identified Native Language, you've used it correctly in a sentence (or correctly defined what "it" is).

You did indeed get lost when you went to the ice cream store. And indeed we DO say LAUNDRY mat. But that LAUNDRY mat will never be IN the floor. The Mathews LAUNDRY mat facade is as ugly as a mud fence. And is located within close proximity of BRICKBAT ROAD. Which, as its name implies, is as hard as a brickbat.