You can’t miss it

TV Hagenah: TV Time

I have never like the words, “You can’t miss it,” but I have learned to really, really hate them lately.

Recently, I had found it necessary to interview a fellow who lived out of town a ways. I don’t remember what the story was, but it seemed like a big story at the time.

Now, I admit I get lost very easily. For that reason, I always try to get directions. Often I even ask for a map, which I did this time.

“A map?” one of the young ladies in Sun office said after I asked for one, “What do you need a map for? For heaven’s sake, you can’t miss it.”

“Well…” I responded.

“All you have to do,” said the person I had asked, a young woman who has lived here most of her life, “is head straight that way out of town (she gestured vaguely over her shoulder) and turn right at the old Garcia place. It used to be kind of beige, but then they painted it.”

I should point out that she had a note in her voice that made it clear she thought I was only marginally more intelligent than rutabaga.

“Garcia’s place?”

“Well,” said someone else who had just come into the office while I was trying to make notes on the back of my hand, “The Garcias don’t actually live there anymore, of course, but everybody knows it used to be their place. I think the
Johnsons live there now, or maybe it is a Smith…?”

The girl from my office chimed in and pointed out that the Garcia place where the Smiths moved, but no longer lived, was further down the road and a little east of where I wanted to turn, besides, it had been more of an eggshell color before it was repainted and not beige.

“Anyway,” said the second person, “you turn at the old Garcia place and you stay on that road, well…, until you get to that big old cottonwood tree about three miles down.”

“You mean the one that lightning hit and was carted off about five years ago?” asked yet another person who had wandered in while I was scribbling down more directions. By this time they were all the up to my elbow.

“Yep, that’s the one,” said the second person.
At this point, everyone was nodding knowingly as if these were the simplest directions imaginable.

“So I turn at the cottonwood tree?” I asked hopefully.
Everyone broke into gales of laughter as if my IQ finally dipped into negative digits.

“There’s no place to turn there,” said my third explainer smiling. “Everyone knows that (there’s another phrase I’m learning to hate). No, you go down a few more miles (just how many are “a few” anyway?) and turn at the blue irrigation pump. At least, I think it’s still blue. I know it used to be blue…Anyway, you turn there, and there’s a house.”

“Yep, that’s the one,” agreed yet another person in the room I had never seen before.

“And that’s where the man lives?” I asked hopefully.
“Heck no, that’s where his cousin lives. He lives further on.”
“Yeah,” said my initial guide, “and now it gets complicated, so pay attention.”

I swear I did pay attention and left thirty minutes later with 27 pages of notes on how to get to this person’s house not far from Logan.

I called back seven hours later from a small ranch just outside House and explained I had missed the interview.
People in the office offered to give me directions back to Tucumcari, but I told them I would just ask the rancher whose phone I was using.

“Don’t worry,” I heard the rancher say with a smile as I hung up his phone, “I’ll get you right there. You can’t miss it.”