Those roads


There are those roads which when you’re on them, it’s impossible to tell where you are.

Even if you’ve driven them a thousand times, they still are somehow absent all landmarks, all cues to where you might be: if you were dropped at random at some point along the route, you’d have no way of knowing whether you were at the beginning, near the end, somewhere in the middle, or on some other road entirely, some other place.

I don’t mean freeways or empty prairie. They’re actually easy to recognize: there is signage, or isolated farmhouses; points of reference that you remember and can place in order later on.

I mean the roads which could rearrange themselves and you’d never notice the difference. They tend to be on the outskirts of things, in-between places: suburban rows blended together, a string of indistinguishable porchlights and lawns and two-car garages. Or three-lane connectors of shopping centers, each with its own big-box anchor surrounded by its particular collection of outlets. Or semi-industrial feeder roads, muffler shop after garage after carwash after cash exchange after pawnshop. Things that should be landmarks seem to be repeated every half-mile or so, making them useless as indicators.

You know the starting point, you know the endpoint; everything in between you just have to take on faith, trust that if you just keep going you’ll eventually find your way to something recognizable.

Do you know those roads? Or is this just me?

I’m about to go drive on one; the route to New York from here is full of them. See you when I get back.