Able associate Rick and I were half an hour late to an appointment last week. This is highly unusual, because I’m a little compulsive about time. My computer is synched up to an official government atomic clock, and my watch is synched up to my computer. At any given moment, I have access to the by-God exact time.
Anyhow, we were bound for a house on Old Cox Pike in Fairview. First problem: The road sign at Highway 100 says, “Cox Pike,” not “Old Cox Pike.” But we’re professionals, we can hit the curve ball. Big problem: As we drove north, the house numbers went up through the 7000s for the first couple of miles, and then, without warning, the numbers started going down, through the 7000s. On Old Cox Pike, there are two of seven-thousand-and-everything.
I would not want to be choking on a slice of pizza and waiting for an ambulance on Old Cox Pike.
Yesterday, I went to retrieve daughter Jess from a slumber party in Green Hills. I went to the wrong house and got greeted by a frisky little pug dog instead of a slumber-party mom. Why? Well, there were two houses, right next door to each other, with the same exact address.
Public officials in charge of addresses, listen to me: No two same addresses on the same road, OK? Get busy and straighten this out. Another thing: There is no good reason why a person should ever find himself at the corner of Harpeth, Harpeth, Harpeth, and Harpeth. The Harpeth is a swell river, but it’s not so swell that we need 19 Harpeth-something roads in Davidson County.
Want a challenge? Try this route: Get on Old Hickory Boulevard, which itself is a hellish maze that, if straightened out, would reach to the Gulf of Mexico. Sooner or later, if you don’t run out of fuel or starve to death, you’ll find yourself in Hermitage. OK, quick now, try to decide which big cross-street is Andrew Jackson Parkway and which one is Andrew Jackson Way. I want to meet the night-landing, carrier-certified, visual-flight-rules, bad-weather jet pilot who can do it.
While you’re in Hermitage trying to sort out your Jacksons, jump on Jacksonian Drive and go over to Bonna-land. There you’ll find 30 Bonna-something roads in one subdivision, including Bonnavista, Bonnaville, and Bonnavent Drives (none of which should be confused Belle Meade’s Bonnaventure Place).
Clearly, we don’t have our best and brightest working on road naming. When a developer walks into the road-naming office and says, “I want to name every road in my subdivision after my pocket Chihuahua, Gasser,” somebody ought to be able to pull up the database and say, “Sorry, bubba, we’ve already got a Gasser Drive out in Antioch.”
It’s easy enough to do a theme subdivision and not use the same road name twice. My favorite is right off Old Hickoryand what isn’t right off Old Hickory?near the Ford glass plant, where everything’s named after a Ford product. They’ve got Thunderbird, Galaxie, Comet, Ranchero, and my personal favorite, Mercomatic.
Of course, Metro law now forbids naming a road to promote a private business. But that didn’t stop the recent renaming of Park Circle, which was the only road leading to Park Circle condominiums. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that the day the condos upscaled their name to West End Place condos, Park Circle was renamed West End Place Circle.
I say if we can change Park Circle overnight for no good reason, we can rename all the guilty roads just about as quickly. First, we’d need a guy with an Oxford dictionary on CD-ROM and enough computer savvy to search for repeating strings like Bonna and Harpeth. Clearly, Mayor Phil Bredesen is the man for the job. He could take his phone off the hook and do the whole job over lunch one day.
Next, we need a guy who can go down to the Metro sign shop, snap his fingers, and get a few thousand signs made. This would be former Sheriff Fate Thomas. The man’s paid his debt to society, and his county needs him. Plus, he probably has some high-quality federal prison sign shop guys on his Rolodex.
I’ll do my part and check the spelling on the signs at no charge. Maybe I could sneak an apostrophe into Walters Court, up in Bordeaux.
Walter Jowers can be reached at Walter.Jowers@nashville.com