The dangers of regionalism

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 2004

Suffolk is often chided for not believing enough in Regionalism. But I’m not sure the citizens here want to share in the confusion. Consider the plight of those living in cities to our east as they attempt to give directions to visiting relatives. The word &uot;Norfolk&uot; actually originated in Southern England, gradually over time as a combination of the words &uot;North&uot; and &uot;Folk,&uot; separating themselves from their brethren to the north, very much like our own term &uot;God#%@& Yankees.&uot; Norfolk is composed entirely of Roads under Construction.

The year-round seasonal weather allows for it.

The only way to get into downtown is to move there.

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Don’t worry about getting out…those arrangements will be made by your next of kin.

Explain this. Ocean View Avenue has no view of the ocean unless you use a high-powered telescope and a crane. Bayview is too far from the Bay to see it and Riverview has no view of any rivers.

Shore Drive has no shore but runs along beside miles and miles of military bases.

Military Highway, an apt name for the main thoroughfare of a primarily military area, will not actually take you to any military bases.

All regional directions start with &uot;Get on 64…&uot; and somewhere will include the phrase &uot;Turn at the 7-Eleven.&uot; Most people navigate the region by using Interstate 64 because of its oddball location. The immediate problem is that in order to access western portions of their region, they have to travel I-64 East. I-64, the largest interstate in the state has two exits that serve Virginia Beach, almost the largest city in Virginia. The landmass of the beach however is only 1% of the city’s total land area.

The city of Portsmouth is not at the port’s mouth – that would be Norfolk. The city of Chesapeake is named for the Chesapeake Bay, 15 miles away. Newport News is not a newspaper. The city is served by The Daily Press, a newspaper, based in Hampton. South Norfolk is in Chesapeake and &uot;Suffolk,&uot; an old English combination of ‘South&uot; and &uot;Folk,&uot; is not south of Norfolk, rather west. Hampton Boulevard is in Norfolk and does not go to Hampton. Northampton Boulevard is not in the north of Hampton…It is 22 miles southeast of Hampton, in Virginia Beach.

Chesapeake Boulevard runs parallel to Hampton Boulevard and does not go to Chesapeake.

Virginia Beach Boulevard starts in Norfolk and only becomes a boulevard when you reach Virginia Beach. Portsmouth Boulevard is in Chesapeake. aThere is no Norfolk Boulevard but there is a Norfolk Avenue in Virginia Beach. It does not go to Norfolk. Atlantic Avenue parallels the Atlantic Ocean.

Strangely, so does Pacific Avenue. Chesapeake Beach, nicknamed &uot;Chic’s Beach&uot;, is in Virginia Beach. Sunbathing chicks go there, but it’s named after a guy, Chic Leddington.

The Northwest River is actually in the Southeastern part of the befuddled region. Deep Creek contains no deep creeks. Great Bridge is an affluent area accessed by crossing a tiny drawbridge. London Bridge has no connection to London and has no bridges.

It is, however, falling apart. The area of Damneck contains no dams. Oceana Boulevard does not come near the ocean.

Norfolk Naval Shipyard is in Portsmouth.

One of the largest Coast Guard bases on the east coast is in Portsmouth, 21 miles from the coast. Hilltop, a mildly affluent shopping area, is not on a hill or near a hill. When it was nothing but open fields prior to 1962, you could see it was flat as a pancake.

There are no cars at the Chrysler Museum.

Scope is not a mouthwash – it’s a convention center in Norfolk. Sometime, just for fun, stop and ask a local for directions to &uot;downtown Virginia Beach.&uot; Chances are, you will be sent to Norfolk. Virginia Beach has no downtown.

They claim to but it is in fact a shopping district with some new tall buildings. Downtown is miles away. But now they are spending tax dollars almost as fast as Suffolk to create one that will be noticed.

No one carpools in the Tidewater region, allowing the HOV-reversible lanes to be used by skate-boarders during rush hours.

All the tollbooths were taken down a few years ago, creating one less place for traffic accidents to occur. The best way to get to and from Virginia Beach at rush hour is to walk on the roofs of cars.

Everyone in the country lived there once or knew someone who did.

You would be hard pressed to find a native anywhere in that region.

Everyone there is from somewhere else, due mostly to the fact that Norfolk contains the largest military facilities in the world. Unfortunately they are moving west to Suffolk. We would be wise to make Hwy 58 bypass the entire city of Suffolk.

Robert Pocklington lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached at