Sunday, June 12, 2011

California Geography

Having now driven around quite a bit for job interviews, I am more familiar with California geography than I ever thought I would be, than I ever really wanted to be.

My dad seems to know just about every route and alternate route and backroad in the state. I used to think that he was some kind of logistics savant (he may be that still), or something, but now I realize he knows so much because he has driven everywhere. Twice. For my most recent journey, I was driving to northern California (Willits, specifically) and I mentioned I was trying to beat the traffic on the 210 by leaving early. "You're not leaving early enough for that," he told me, "you should take the 138 to Lancaster..." what then followed was an extremely specific set of instructions, whose accuracy was, in fact, corroborated by Google maps. "This part of the 138 is called Pear Blossom Highway. It passes through some weird town, Little Rock, I think." I was not sure why he had so much information about the middle of the god damn desert, but I decided to roll with it.

The thing about taking a back road, especially one that snakes through the desert, is that you're never sure it's going to work out until you get to the end of it. It just seems like you're driving into oblivion. Like if the world were flat you might drive off the side of it without noticing, scrub brush and the odd Joshua Tree seeing you off. But of course, this is what makes it a viable alternate route: there are no people. I know I'm not in the middle of nowhere on the 210 because it's so full of people. But then again, it's so full of people.

So my job interview was in Willits this time. I drove up to Ukiah (about 25 miles south of Willits) and spent the night there on Thursday. Friday afternoon I had a lesson demonstration--for actual students on the last Friday of the school year. Nice--and interview. I didn't get out of town til around 4P.M., but I drove the whole day home that day anyway. Normally, when driving to that part of the state, one goes through Oakland, but I knew at that time of day it would be a bad idea. So, I decided to go via yet another less-traveled road. I took the 20, which links up the 101 and the 5, and I spent about 40 minutes driving right next to a giant lake, I looked it up later and found out that it's called Clear Lake.

I've applied to so many jobs, over 200 now, and most of the time, I don't even look up where they are, I just apply because I'm so desperate for work. So, driving through the state I'm seeing all these town names that I recognize for putting in applications. I found myself saying things like "Oh, so that's where Elk Grove is," on my drive back.

I really hope I get a job soon because I can't keep experiencing geography at this rate.

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