Saturday, May 30, 2015

Worms & Coffee

I was on the road. It was lunchtime. I wanted some good, fresh, non-convenience-store coffee to go with my meal. So I stopped off and, with my trusty smartphone, searched for "nearby coffee shops."

Out where I was, in the coastal North Carolina countryside, only one result came up: Worms & Coffee.

My first thought was, Interesting name. My second was, Too far away, for the place was, indeed, several miles too distant to be worth the trip. So, back on the highway I went (after which I would soon find a suitable coffee shop, where I lunched and all was well). Before turning around, though, I did have a parting thought: Guess I'll never see the Worms & Coffee coffee shop, then. It was oddly disappointing, like missing out on some rare but unimportant event.

Yes, this being a synchronicity story, you probably know where this is going: somehow, in some profoundly unlikely way, I miraculously find myself at Worms & Coffee. You aren't wrong; but, the real wow of this incident is appreciated only in the details of my arrival.

First, I took a wrong road, when beginning the trip home. Though, this is a bit of an understatement: I took not just "the long way," or "the scenic route," or the road that would leave me on the wrong side of the tracks. Rather, this was the wrong road, in the sense of heading for Maine when you're looking for Florida. Coming out of Wilmington, NC, after having visited for my first time, I'd just continued south on the road I'd ended up on after my stay. I was, after all, just heading back "south," to Myrtle Beach nearby. South is south, I thought. The ocean was to my left and my car's hood was pointed down, so I was bound to hit Myrtle Beach eventually, right?

Unfortunately, I was ignorant of southeastern North Carolina geography. Namely, of the Cape Fear river and its peninsula.

Going blindly "south" for miles and miles, I'd kept expecting an exit to the highway, and wondering why there weren't any. Well, once the southerly road dead-ended at a picturesque beach (and I became enlightened in regards to the Cape Fear peninsula, again thanks to my handy smartphone), my questions were answered. There was one consolation, however: my misadventure had taken me right to a ferry port, and the next departure was in less than a half and hour. Oh well, I thought. Maybe a ferry ride will be fun.

Indeed, I did enjoy the ferry, for all the time my detour had cost me. And, at least I hadn't had anywhere to be (oh wait, I had; thankfully, the doctor was understanding when I called and cancelled my appointment). My butt hadn't even gotten too sore. However, my detour was just beginning.

Back on shore, across the Cape Fear river, I started home to Myrtle Beach ... only to get lost again. How I got lost, I'm still not quite sure; and, besides, it doesn't have much bearing on the synchronistic side of this whole mess (nor does the excruciating traffic jam that I became enmeshed in as a result)). But, in any case, this second navigation mistake introduced a pertinent twist in my story: it made my ill-fated journey back to Myrtle Beach that much more convoluted and roundabout, sending me even further astray into coastal southeastern NC. The same goes for the additional tangle of turns and byroads that was required to correct this latest mistake; by then, I was beyond lost, having shed all sense of direction or location, like a bloodhound with a busted nose. By the time I at last finished my wrong-turning and then got back on course, it was hours after I should've already been home. 

At least I kept my cool and had some fun, I thought as I drove on (with a butt that had, by then, grown very sore), as consolation for my "wasted" day. However, my adventure wasn't quite over yet.

Right before reaching the highway I'd been desperately seeking out all afternoon, I passed a lonely little brick building, sitting on a desolate corner in the middle of nowhere. Worms & Coffee read a neon sign in the window, looking out of place in the emptiness. I'd gotten to see it, after all (really "after all," in this case).

I didn't have time to stop and check it out, sadly. But I did laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

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