You Can’t Get There From Here


Google recently restructured. It was big news, and there was plenty of speculation as to why they did it. This speculation was unnecessary. Clearly, the company restructured in order to focus the efforts of several hundred programmers on upgrading their Google Maps app. Not the whole app. Just the Ipswich part.

Google Maps, as you know, is the app that tells you how to get where you’re going, and how long it’s going to take you, and how much longer it’s going to take you in traffic. Google Maps has become a centerpiece of American life, and in most parts of the country it probably works just fine. But Ipswich is unique — unique in ways that the ordinary Google Maps app just can’t handle. Driving through Ipswich, you need more location-specific information than the Google programmers originally accounted for. Truth be told, a single month of summertime driving in this town can require a staggering breadth of data:

Time to destination: 12 minutes.

With traffic: 15 minutes.

Behind motorcycle rally: 11 minutes.

With potholes: 17 minutes.

With bicycles in the road: 52 minutes.

In a neighborhood where children have set up a lemonade stand: 16 minutes.

In a neighborhood where adults have set up a yard sale: 29 minutes.

With turkeys in the road: 19 minutes.

With guinea hens in the road (Linebrook Road at Route 1): 21 minutes.

With deer in the road: 7 minutes, with post-shock acceleration.

With deer in the road (dead): 13 minutes.

With protesters in the road (Water Street): 26 minutes.

With Joni Soffron in the road (Pavilion Beach): 27 minutes.

With flooding (during mandatory water restrictions): 28 minutes.

With fire engine emerging (Central Street): 14 minutes.

With fire engine returning (Central Street): 22 minutes.

Prior to Thursday evening Crane concert (Argilla Road): 52 minutes.

During Clam Box operating hours (High Street): 70 minutes.

During Ipswich Farmers Market (Wednesdays, South Main Street): 72 minutes.

During Marini’s Strawberry Festival (Linebrook Road): 30 minutes.

During Marini’s Corn Maze (Linebrook Road): 42 minutes.

Behind the Marini tractor (Linebrook, until the driver can find a wide place where he can pull to the side of the road): 25 minutes.

Before or after Town Meeting (High Street, School Street): 43 minutes.

When Tom Palance or Orville Giddings is playing at Downtown Tuesdays (Market Street): 23 minutes.

If Riverbend’s pile of dead brush cascades across County Road: 33 minutes.

If Riverbend’s rotted logs don’t hold up the gravel at the side of the road: 38 minutes.

With freak thunderstorm: 41 minutes.

Distracted by ICAM drone cam overhead: 44 minutes.

Distracted by ICAM drone cam overhead (with crash): 187 minutes.

Behind school bus (school mornings only): 48 minutes.

Behind garbage truck (garbage days only; 1 garbage can per household): 25 minutes.

With emptied garbage cans rolling around in the road (garbage days only): 50 minutes.

Behind recycling truck (unlimited recycling) 213 minutes.

Behind compost truck (roadside compost pickup days only; by subscription only): 13 minutes.

Saturday morning en route to the beach (Argilla Road): Forget about it.

Saturday morning en route to the beach (with Strandbeests): Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.


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