After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going. This is the fifteenth letter I wrote.
12/05/01 – Roads around Dell
Hey Sooner Friends,
I’m sorry it has been a while since I have written. I was in town for the holidays and came around to visit. It was good to see you guys again. Sorry I missed seeing some of you. Mike Gibbs and Alex said they wanted me to add them to the e-mail list, but I don’t have their e-mail addresses easily accessible. If someone would tell them to e-mail me, I’ll put them in the address book.
There is an interesting phenomenon in Austin, and I didn’t understand it at first, and I’m not too sure that I fully appreciate it yet. I noticed that a lot of roads around here didn’t have names, they only had numbers ( some have names AND numbers). There are a lot of streets called something like this: CR 169. Then there are those that are called something like this: FM 1325. Then there are some called something like this: RM 620.
At first I thought that CR stood for County Road. I could understand that. It was a little strange I thought, that CR 169 went through both Williamson county and Travis county, but I thought, “What the heck”, if both counties want to name the road the same thing, then why should I care. I thought that FM 1325 might be a radio station where I could hear the traffic report about that particular road, but since my radio didn’t have 1325 on the FM dial, I thought maybe it should have been 1325 on the AM radio. There was a Mexican station there, and I couldn’t tell if they were talking about road conditions or not, but if they were they had written a song about it and had a band playing along. — So I thought, “Maybe not.” Then I thought RM 620 sounded like a hotel room, but that didn’t make sense either.
I was beginning to think that the CR 169 meant that there was a curve in the road and we should slow down to 169 miles an hour, and that RM 620 meant that they were doing Regular Maintenance and we should slow down to 620 miles an hour, and that FM 1325 meant “Fast Motorists”, and we could go 1, 325 miles an hour. But someone finally told me what these road signs meant.
It seems that CR stands for “Country Road”, and FM stands for “Farm Road” and RM stands for “Ranch Road”. — “OK”, I thought. I could see where CR might mean Country Road, except for the fact that many Country Roads ran clear through the middle of town and had Malls and Huge movie theaters on them.
Then I thought, Well, Texas HAS declared itself as it’s own country, and maybe that’s what it meant. That it was “Texas Country”. And I could see where FM might stand for “Farm Road”, after all, there is an “M” in the word “Farm”, so FM could mean “Farm Road”, even though every Farm Road I had driven down was more like a two or four lane highway, and I hadn’t seen a farm anywhere. — “Ranch Road” I’m having a little more trouble understanding.
First of all, why have an abbreviation “RM” for “Ranch Road”? There isn’t even an “M” in “Ranch Road”. When I brought this to my fellow Texan’s attention, I was asked, “What do you want them to call it? “RR”? Then everyone will think they are driving on a Railroad Track. You don’t want that do you? Then no one will stop at intersections. They will just honk their horns and go right on through, and then there will be a big mess.
I didn’t see that that was much different than what they were doing right now, but I could see their point. “Since Farm Roads were FM it was only natural to call Ranch Roads RM, don’t you see?” Continued my Texas Mentor.
I thought that it would be kind of nice to give roads names instead of numbers, and so I mentioned that to my coworker. “Oh, they have names, but people like the numbers better.” The traffic reporters like to say, “We have a tractor trailer jack-knifed on 183 causing major delays, and there is a 16 car pile up on 3248 just south of the mall, and there is a major slow down on 79 at I-35 where there was a head on collision with a motorist who sped through a red light while honking his horn.”
I had to admit that made a lot of sense.
I hope all is going well with you guys. Thanks for keeping in touch.
Your Friend at Dell,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile