When you’re heading to the coast of Georgia from Newnan, you can take I-75 down to Macon and then get onto I-16. That will take you through the deadest stretches of interstate this side of the Mississippi, down to Savannah, and then you get to use I-95 down to the isles. Out of your way, but clean.
Or you can go straight there by getting onto U.S. 41 at Griffin and just staying straight on 341 all the way to Brunswick. It cuts through the state like a royal highway, and most of the time you’re alone. That is its appeal to me: no real traffic, no flocks of semi’s, no clumps of maniacs trying to go five miles per hour faster or slower than you. You’re surrounded by green, and yes, you have to slow down for the towns along the way, but to me that’s a plus.
After you squeeze through Perry you’re onto the long stretch leading to the coast. And there, in the first pecan grove, is a sign: GEORGIA’S HIGH TECH CORRIDOR.
Right, you think. On and on the road goes. It widens into four lanes, four lanes divided, more pecans, a lot more pine trees, and every now and then another sign: GEORGIA’S HIGH TECH CORRIDOR.
Only, really, it’s not. There’s nothing to indicate that this ribbon of highway is flanked by anything other than that which it’s always been flanked by: utter rurality. There aren’t even real farms anymore, just pecan groves and pine plantations, and occasionally a small town that used to serve the farmers but no longer has that purpose, nor indeed any purpose.
You check your laptop to see if, incredibly, you might be getting a wireless signal, but of course you aren’t. The endless pine trees are not wired. Perhaps they’re being raised by satellite?
Your iPod broadcasts random music to your radio that you are fairly certain, and I don’t think you’re being overly unfair to the homes you pass, that has never been heard in those homes, or even heard of: Berio, Gottschalk, DohnÃ¡nyi, Adams.
You don’t dare check your cell-phone to see if you have coverage, because what would be the good in that? Knowing that you’re cut off from the outside world would only lead to feelings of uneasiness.
In fact, the only indication of any high tech in this particular corridor is a sign, hand-lettered, by a rundown shack in a nearly abandoned community. It says, “COMPUTER WORK.”
Right under that, it says, “BOILED PEANUTS.”
Where does one go from there?