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Siri strikes back

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By Travis Jenkins

Whoever said getting there is half the fun has never tried to find Springfield, South Carolina.

On Friday, I decided to head down for the Lewisville vs. Wagener-Salley football game. Long road trips, to me, offer an excellent opportunity to plot out a course for a delicious barbecue meal. As I’ve said here many times before, I consider smoked pig meat to be the finest food available to mortal man and if you disagree I don’t think you’re evil, I just think you are terribly misguided. Anyway, I did a Google search for

“restaurants near Salley, South Carolina.” It wasn’t quite as bad as the time I Googled “restaurants near McBee” and one of the options was an Exxon Gas station, but the choices were rather limited and did not include BBQ. So, I decided to solicit the opinion of as many folks as possible all at once.

“I am now accepting restaurant recommendations in the greater Wagener and Salley areas. Prefer BBQ, will consider other things,” I announced on Twitter.

It didn’t take long until the recommendations started rolling in. Someone suggested I leave a little early and go to Shealy’s BBQ. Leesville was a tad farther than I wanted to drive, though. Then Coach Douglas Josey suggested Goodlands BBQ in Springfield, located just a scant five or so miles from Wagener-Salley High School. I’d heard good things about Goodlands and five extra miles didn’t seem like too much extra to drive for tasty, tasty pig meat…so Goodlands it would be. Of course, deciding where you’re going and actually getting there are two very different things.

I left early enough to allow both time to gorge myself on an opulent buffet and to get lost or encounter horrible traffic on I-77. I had never actually been to Springfield before, but I did know I either took 77 toward Charleston or went from 77 to I-20. Once I was on the interstate I guessed I would turn to my not-so-trusty friend Siri. Siri, of course, is the magical, supposedly all-knowing digital assistant that lives inside my phone. She has access to all the collective knowledge of mankind and the ability to give turn-by-turn direction to anyone on planet Earth. Despite that, she once guided me into a residential neighborhood and insisted that I turn into someone’s driveway when I asked for directions to Camden High School. Not sure how somebody who is supposed to know everything screws up directions that much. Granted, she is usually better at directions than most people, who usually say stuff like “Yeah, you’re going to drive two or three miles and you’ll see this real big tree, right where old Pern Johnson used to live. If you ain’t from around here I don’t reckon you knew Pern, so just look for that tree and an old barn if it’s still standing” but she’s not perfect. She also doesn’t feature a filter that allows her to understand the dialect of a hillbilly like me. I’ve encountered that problem with her before, but I still figured she was my best shot.

“I need driving directions to Goodlands barbecue in Springfield, South Carolina,” I said as slowly and clearly as I possibly could.

“Sorry, I didn’t find any matches for Goodwins Barbecue in Springfield,” she replied.

Sigh. I tried not to get angry. I repeated myself even more slowly and even more clearly.

“Sorry, I didn’t find any matches for Goodwins Barbecue in Springfield,” she chirped.

“GOOD LANDS. GOODLANDS! GOODLANDS BARBECUE.”

“Sorry, I didn’t find any matches for Goodlits Barbecue in Springfield,” she said, mockingly.

I accepted the fact that no matter how many times I said it, or how slowly I pronounced it, Siri was not going to understand me. Maybe if I spelled it out for her.

“I need driving directions to G-O-O-D-L-A-N-D-S B-A-R-B-E-C-U-E in Springfield,” I said.

“Getting direction to Notre Dame University,” she said.

What? How is in the world do you get Notre Dame out of that? That doesn’t even make sense. At that point I had to assume that Siri was evil and just messing with me. Am I the only person this happens to? Probably. The answer is probably yes.

So, I had to abandon that course of action. Instead, I just Googled “Goodlands BBQ” hit directions and did my best to follow what was written on my phone. That’s dicey, to be honest, because I have no sense of direction and because if it says “take State Highway 3 for 17 miles, then turn right onto Jimmy Jack Drive” I’ll get onto Highway 3 fine, then forget I’m supposed to look for Jimmy Jack Drive. Remarkably, I was able to follow the directions, make it to Springfield and find the tasty vittles I was looking for. The only problem, once I’d eaten BBQ, hash, fried chicken, macaroni, hushpuppies and dessert, was then finding my way on to Wagener-Salley High School. Being a glutton for punishment on top of a plain old glutton…

“Siri, I need direction to Wagener-Salley High School,” I said.

To my surprise, she actually understood me and got me there, but she pronounced Wagener as “Waj-uh-nuh.” Hey, who talks funny now lady!