Sunday, July 19, 2009

3rd Road Dog Man

One thing I do sometimes is read local papers online, from places I've never been and probably never will be.  I think I need to expand that little hobby - it's interesting to see what's going on in Brownsville, Texas or Modesto, California.

Now, what happens when you read these headlines and stories is that things are out of context. Local areas have names & pronounciations for streets, locations & businesses that no one would ever dream of - it's how they tell who belongs there and who doesnt.

For example, almost no one who is not from central Maryland will know the correct pronounciation of the town of Taneytown.  And with that distinctive Maryland accent, it's pronounciation by people who have lived there all their lives is even different from those of us who have learned it's not pronounced with a long 'a'.  If you're not from there, they know it as soon as you say the name of the town, even if you try hard to get it right.

As far as streets are concerned, they can be named anything, for any reason.  In Washington, DC, they're named after states, letters, and numbers.  In Detroit, some of them are named after how many miles they are from some point.  In my time in Hickory, NC, I never could learn my way around town using street names.  I had to use landmarks because there seems to be no rational or logical explanation for why streets are named as they are.  None that modern humans can understand anyway.   

Here's an example: I am on Google Earth looking down from on high at the 4-way intersection of 16th St NE, 8th St Dr NE, and 21st Ave NE in Hickory, NC.  If you're on 16th St NE and want to stay on that street, you have to turn right at the intersection (or left if you're coming the other way).  Just off 16th St NE there is 20th Ave Ct NE, and just off 8th St Dr NE, there is 20th Ave LN NE.   So where is 20th Ave NE?  Well, as far as I can figure, it's a little road that ends at 13th St NE, just a block over from 8th Str Dr NE, and goes down to somewhere else.  I don't want to think about it.

Anyway, to the point of this post. (Finally). I've lived in so many different places that I'm completely open to (wich isn't to say I don't have an opinion about) the local names assigned to towns, streets, and areas.  

So, when I read the following headline in the online version of the Modesto Bee, "3rd Road Dog Man Charged With Theft", it didn't phase me.   I thought "3rd Road" was a very functional & minimalist name to give to a street, very California, and I was very interested to find out what a "Dog Man" was and what it was that he stole.  What would a Dog Man covet?  Dog Man really caught my attention.  

I know nothing about Modesto.  I've never been there.  I looked on Google Earth to see eactly where it is - looks like you go to San Francisco and head east.   Anyway, I had not been following any of their local news or stories.  Things that are important in Modesto don't seem to gain much hearing in Valdese.  

I had to read the article before I realized that 3rd Road wasn't a name of a street, and there is no such thing as a Dog Man, which is too bad.  Apparently "Road Dog" is the name of a bike shop (I assume motorcycles), and a couple of employees had been arrested for a crime, and then they arrested a 3rd one.  Simple explanation.    There's no "3rd Road", there's no "Dog Man".

Sometimes I wished I didn't read any further than the headlines.


Patti Anne said...

Hey! Don't make fun of Hickory. John Reep is from Hickory. There are Hickory trees. Hickory-smoked ham. So the streets are confusing. It keeps the riff-raff out. I like the 3rd Road Dog Man. That sounds like a rock band to me.

linlah said... NorCal Modesto would be the breadbasket of the state, also one with the highest unemployment and the most foreclosures, but it is a beautiful place to drive through.

A Valdese Blogger said...

NC gal: I must have been in one of those moods - I saw "Dog Man" and thought "Cool!!"

linlah: Thanks for stopping by!