Died and gone to Hell– er, Haile

Taking shelter from the rain!‘Round these parts, we make fun of a development called Haile Plantation. Partly because it’s so Stepford, and partly because if you’re from the South you immediately hear the sound of the spoken word, Haile, as a deep Southern accent saying Hell; they’re pronounced exactly the same. So we make jokes about having to go to Hell whenever any of us has to go to that side of town… which is exactly the opposite side of town from where I live. The only way you could make this place FARTHER away from our house would be if we lived a block closer to the airport than we do now. So of course that’s where my new vet’s office is, and that’s where I had to drive out to yesterday to get Old Dog a pain medication refill (in the future I can get it mailed to me for the bargain price of $3, which I will pay with a giant smile on my face so I don’t have to drive out there).

I’ve actually only been out there about three times, gotten lost two of the three times (the third time I wasn’t driving) – so of course I plugged the vet’s office into my GPS on my phone to give me a little extra help HAHAHAHAHA. The phone, and I don’t know if it did this because it really hasn’t been right since it got dropped to the floor, or because of some weird Google Navigation hiccup… but right when I was going through a big four-way stop intersection, it decided I was at my location and refused to give me any more directions. THANKS A PANTSLOAD.

Naturally it started to get dark and stormy, and I didn’t know where I was going, and there are a lot of weird one-way streets, and overhanging trees, and most of the signs are both small and written in a fancy-pants tyepface. The streets are relatively narrow with parking on both sides, so I was basically trying not to hit anyone while driving two miles an hour down roads I didn’t know looking for a building that I’d never seen before. Surprisingly that wasn’t as stressful as it could have been, because I knew the village is basically a square and if I got too far out of the square I’d be in no-man’s land; so if I got to the point where I was surrounded by no buildings and all trees, I’d gone too far and should turn around.

Well, I found it, got my dog’s meds, and got back in the car, wondering where this cute cupcake shop was that my friend Laura had told me about. I figured the chances of me coming BACK to Haile any time soon were slim, so I should look for it while I was out there. But I was also trying not to drive the wrong way down any one-way streets, trying not to hit any cars, and trying to see in the encroaching stormy darkness. I was at a stop sign and was looking both ways (like ya do… in theory) when out of the corner of my eye…. CUPCAKES! I found the closest parking spot (two blocks away, thank you one-way streets) and ran through the beginning of the rainstorm and into a building full of heaven. Then I spent about 20 minutes watching people do what they could to avoid what was less a rainfall and more a deluge (seriously, at that point, just give up and agree to get wet — you’re going to get wet ANYWAY).

While I was there, looking out the window at the perfectly manicured (if drenched) town square, I wondered why it is that I completely love the manufactured perfectness of Walt Disney World, but am completely creeped out by this manufactured perfectness of the Haile Village Square. They’re both designed to elicit a certain response, both planned out down to every leaf, both designed to put your brain in a specific mindset. Is it because people live in Haile, that I find it more creepy? Haile isn’t laid out like anything else in Gainesville. It’s like… it’s like Every Town, USA. You could use it for a set for a movie and it could be middle America, it’s so bland. I mean, it’s pretty, don’t get me wrong. I even found myself thinking I could get used to a view like that. But it’s… interchangeable. It could be anywhere. It doesn’t give you a sense of PLACE. If I had driven out and suddenly been in Oklahoma instead of Florida, I wouldn’t have been surprised. OK, maybe I would have been, in a Twilight Zone kind of way. But do you know what I mean? I could have been anywhere.

ANYWAY.

Show of hands — who is surprised I got lost leaving the Plantation? HAHAHAHAH! Eventually I got the rest of my errands run, though, and we now have dog medication and cleaning supplies and yesterday’s HaldeCraft orders have been put in the mail.

And now, on to today!

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