Finding Sebastian Joe’s was a Walk in the Park
It appears that our adult children are some worried about us. They think that, because we got into a rather heated disagreement about the location of Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor in Linden Hills, our marriage may be on the rocks. It is true that I got lost and was taking more time than necessary to find the exact location. It is true that my memory is not as good as it once was. It is true that their mom hates waste and frivolity, but the truth is they have not helped as much as they had hoped.
I have one daughter who has become an internet junkie and is a masterful “Ebay” and “Craig’s List” shopper. It is my guess that this was her idea.
For my birthday UPS delivered a GPS. It looked simple enough and I immediately got the idea that this might be a hint. Well, I must say, that this brilliant idea came close to sinking the ship completely. I was so excited to use it and thought to wait until just the right moment. So, I announced to Jeanne that on Labor Day – the day after my birthday – I was going to treat her to a pleasant drive to Gaffney, South Carolina, let her shop at the outlet stores and then we’d drive on to Spartanburg, visit the Art Museum, have a nice early lunch and head back to Charlotte. Actually in the back of my mind I intended to impress her with my new GPS by showing her how it worked, just in case she might like to use it sometime in the future.
After trying to first attach the mounting system with its handy sticky base and utterly failing I thought to simply put it on the dash of my new car by using the suction cup option. So when, at a little after nine, Jeanne got into the car I carefully dismounted the GPS unit from its carriage and set out to show her how one enters the address of the intended destination. Normally this is quite simple to do. I had practiced before hand, but with her wanting to get started and the car running (using expensive gas), I became nervous about the entire operation and fouled up several times. Looking like a complete incompetent, I muttered something, turned it off, set it back in the carriage and squealed out of the driveway. All the while this was going on she wanted to know why I was so angry … which led to me telling her that she absolutely has no sense of adventure. As you can imagine, this didn’t go over too well.
After filling the car with gas (gas that I should have bought yesterday because it was a pre-Labor Day price) we drove in relative silence toward Gaffney. As we were riding along, my new GPS mounted to the radio console, the sun shining brightly in the window, the suction cup let loose and the entire carriage fell to the floor!
“Oh, no,” I thought frantically, “Is the durn thing broke completely? I’ve only had it for a day, and I’ve already managed to bungle the thing completely.” Fortunately, once retrieved and the power turned on, it seemed to be working. I was incredibly relieved – relieved, that is, until I looked at the dash from whence it had fallen to discover that the beautiful and flawless paint had been torn completely off, leaving an ugly circle the exact shape of the suction cup.
“Now what?” I thought. “This thing was obviously made for Minnesota and not Carolina, where summer temperatures reach in excess of ninety-five degrees every day for two or three months of the year. Well, if we’re gonna have this glaring circle on our dash we might as well mount it there permanently. How in the world can we get this fixed anyway?”
Finally, we arrived in Gaffney … after having the GPS fall on the floor a second time. I determined that I was going to show her that this thing works, so while she went shopping I sat quietly in the car and programmed the GPS to navigate us to the Spartanburg Art Museum. When she had finished her shopping, settled herself into the car, and we pulled out, I planned to push the start button and let it talk us down the road… and it did just that!
When we followed the directions given by the female voice and pulled on to Interstate 85, I noticed a road sign that said it was nine miles to Spartanburg. My GPS, however, indicted 29 miles to the Spartanburg Museum. This didn’t make much sense, but I have learned to follow the directions rather than my intuition, so we went on in faith. When we came through Spartanburg we both saw the sign that read, “East St. John” street. This was similar to the street that I was looking for (400 East John Street) but the GPS advised us to go straight ahead … into the countryside … for at least another nineteen miles. We did and when we finally heard the voice say “You have reached your destination” we looked to our right to see a country lane leading to an abandoned trailer house.
Fortunately we both had a good laugh about this. Looking down at the GPS we noticed that the destination was not 400 East John … it was 400 Eastlake Street. Somehow I had recorded the wrong destination but I didn’t know how it had happened … yet. Was the GPS defective? We both wondered.
Well, we decided to try to find the museum another way. We looked up “Attractions” and by clicking one button “Museums” on the GPS we got all of the listed museums in the area. Then I realized there were several with a similar name and I wasn’t sure which one was the one I was after. Even more troubling, none of them listed 400 John Street as the address. Oh well, I picked the one that sounded like what I remembered and asked the machine to take us there. We drove back twenty miles into town and again we followed the voice precisely. Turn left at the next stop, Boink! Go one thousand feet, turn right, Boink! Follow Marion Street 1.4 miles. Eight hundred feet on the right is your destination. We dutifully followed every command and even when we turned too soon, we were quickly corrected, got back on the route and eventually arrived at our second destination … an empty building with a “For Sale” sign in front of it. Perhaps an Art Museum was once there but it wasn’t now and no one had informed the satellite.
We had another good laugh before deciding to turn off the GPS and just drive around the downtown until we maybe ran into it. I had the inspiration to ask a couple of policemen cruising the downtown and it was then that I discovered my mistake. The address was 400 SAINT JOHN Street. No wonder the GPS couldn’t find 400 John Street. Finally we found the Spartanburg Museum of Art — an impressive structure that looked like it was chuck full of great art pieces. But it was Labor Day and closed. So there we have it, my first day with my GPS. Our marriage is still preserved, but your birthday gift had nothing to do with it and if I ever have to find Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor in Linden Hills, I will ask a Somalian taxi driver.