Page Fifty Two
As citizens of facebook nation know, it is International Book Week. There is a ritual for observation of this event. “It’s international book week. The rules: grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence as your status. Don’t mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your status.”
PG had been resisting. For one thing, text from dead tree books cannot be copypasted. Posting the fifth sentence would involve typing the words by hand, which is too much work.
And so it is thursday morning of IBW, and 144 fbf have posted the meme. PG looks to his right, and sees no books in the first glance. A turn to the left shows a map book. The meme doesn’t say what kind of book, or how you can determine the fifth sentence of a diagram of residential roads, interstate highways, railroads, and industrial areas. Still, the post for today is on. Most people skip ahead to the pictures anyway. These pictures were not altered. L5P is on page 59.
One thing about map books is a refusal to use conventional page numbering. This is not a romance novel, nor is it going to change your life. The goal of a map book is to help you find your destination, and make money for the map book printer. (There are stories of map publishers inventing roads as a way of protecting their copyright.) This book is the 6th edition of Metro Atlanta, Georgia. It is printed by ADC maps. Their slogan is “The map people”. That inspires appalling visuals involving halloween parties, and the dragon con parade.
Some say that map books are obsolete. To hear these digital fascists, GPS and google have rendered dead tree street guides useless. Such words are heresy to those who have found their way with maps for years. There is a page to page flow with a book that is not available on the tiny backlit screen. You don’t have to plug in a book. If you are stuck in a car with nothing else to read, you can peruse a map, and always make a discovery.
To determine page 52, PG counted the pages by hand. The odds are on top, the evens on the bottom, just like in real life. The magic sheet is page 788. By amazing coincidence, PG lives on sheet 787. He is abundantly familiar with the contents of page 787. What is even more fun is the top of pp. 787-788 being roughly 144 yards north of where PG is typing this feature. While it is not sitting on top of the world, the top of the page can be a lively place.
The NW corner of page 788 is 33°52′30″N 84°18′45″W. This is a wooded area, owned by DeKalb County. The map shows it to be part of Peachtree DeKalb Airport. The woods used to be a part of the airport. There are abandoned light poles, and a section of red clay bulldozed into flatland submission.
This area is fun to look at on maps, because there usually a mistake. Edition 6 is no different. There is a small park, with a former little league ballpark, on Georgian Drive. The map shows this park going all the way to Tobey Road. In reality there is a strip of condos on Tobey, at the Clairmont conjunction. Before the condos were there, a used car lot was on the corner. Next to the used car lot was a house, with a goat in the back yard. The goat would chew kudzu leaves, and leave green stained vines behind.
The SE corner of page 788 is 33°48′45″N 84°15′00″W This is just a whit outside I285, a bit south of the Stone Mountain Freeway. There is a fine view of the highrises downtown on that part of the perimeter. Yes, this is OTP. The NE corner is somebody’s back yard on Henderson Mill Road, just next to I285.
The SW corner is Toco Hill shopping center. This was built in the black and white television era. It is the home of the Department of Labor. Many people have done time in that space. Here is the story of the name. “. It seems like a man was in Brazil, doing construction projects during World War Two. He had a housekeeper, who was a Brazilian Indian. Whenever he would put in a bid on a job, the housekeeper would say “toco”. It seems that toco is a Brazilian Indian word for “more luck than you can imagine.”
The 52 page bit was a bit of work, but easy to figure out. How do you determine the fifth sentence of a page from a map book? The page has letters on the top, and numbers running down the side. The idea is that you look up something in the index, and it gives you a pair of coordinates. An example is “Hardee Ave. W 788 A1 DC. That translates into page 788, coordinates A1, in Dekalb County. This is a lovely little road, with no side streets, that goes up a hill behind the airport. On the north side is the County Health Department. On the south side lie the remains of a neighborhood. It was bought out, and eliminated, due to airport noise.
The best way to determine the fifth sentence is to look for the E5 section of page 788. Technically that is fifth squared. In a biography of W.C. Fields, the fifth sentence of any page is likely to involve a fifth of whiskey. It will probably be empty.
The E5 section of page 788 is the setting of Lakeside HS. PG had a curious relationship with this facility, having gone to neighboring Cross Keys. At the time, Lakeside had the best football team in the state, and Cross Keys one of the worst. It didn’t help that the PG family went to Briarcliff Baptist Church, which was a hotbed of Lakeside attendees. In another bit of mapbook synchronicity, it seems that Briarcliff Baptist is on the right edge of page 787, which makes it due south of the house of PG.
Page 788 is a splendid little chunk of America. Between A1, and K10, dwell two interstate highways, Peachtree DeKalb Airport, Northlake Mall, and the Cecil B. Day campus of Mercer University. The latter facility is located on Mercer University Drive, which yields a terrific set of initials. Across from the mall is the transmitter tower for a 50,000 watt clear channel radio station, whose signal used to seep into neighborhood pay phones. When Simon and Garfunkel went looking for America, they could have gone to the fifty second page, the fifth sentence, of the sixth edition, of ADC (The map people) and their guide to Metro Atlanta Georgia.
Pictures today are by Chamblee54. This was written like David Foster Wallace