Distance and Perspective

By Megan Robb

My visit to the Hillsborough DMV is the result of an inaccuracy from Google Maps. The results list told me that it was the closest DMV to where I was in Raleigh. It turned out that there was one about 10 minutes from my apartment that Google didn’t catch. Instead, I made a 45-minute trek just so I could fail my written test by one question.

Raleigh is a substantial city, especially when you combine it with Durham, which is very close to it. I’m hesitant to make generalizations, but from what I’ve seen, it’s not a city made up of ancient apartment buildings stacked on top of each other like New York. It doesn’t stay fixed in place like Syracuse. Raleigh builds, but it doesn’t build upwards. It builds outwards.

The Hillsborough DMV is in a more obscure area, even within the town itself. Traveling from Raleigh to Hillsborough is like taking a wrong turn from Syracuse: before you know it, you’re in the middle of nowhere. The only difference is that there are hills around Syracuse, while the Hillsborough DMV is on a rather hill-less stretch of highway that goes straight ahead to the horizon. It’s a lesson in perspective. It’s also an interesting drive, particularly if you’re car-less and not used to driving that far.

In fact, I was driving to the DMV in the first place so I could get my North Carolina state license and thus be eligible to get my own car. I passed the test at the DMV that really was the one closest to me, but I returned to the Hillsborough one recently just to see it in a familiar context. I headed toward the vanishing point with confidence. I knew where I was.

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com