Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Go buy a map?

Any one that knows me will probably point out that I am ridiculously prepared. But if I am just popping over to the groceteria for a few things, the chance that I will be all that prepared is far less likely. I’m not bringing all my maps of the area with me if I’m strolling to the park with my nephew to kick a ball around for an hour. If you ask me where a street is and it’s a block or two away, I can direct you. Ask me about a street on the other side of town, a part of town I’m just not familiar with, you’re out of luck. I always help people when I can, but I can’t possibly recall every name of every street and the precise turn by turn directions of how to get there in a city the size of the one I live in.

I had a guy stop me the other day and ask me where Whitefish Crescent was. No idea. A crescent is a suburb thing. There are no suburban areas anywhere near here. “I really don’t think it’s in a 5 km, 10 km radius of here. I don’t know...go buy a map maybe?”

Went home and looked it up. It was more than 20 km away, so far out, it was practically in a whole other city. So dude had no idea where he was, no idea where he needed to be was, no idea how to get from here to there.

I worked in Mississauga for a few years, in a sprawling warren of an industrial complex. I got to where I needed to be, walked to a place nearby to get lunch once in a while, went home at the end of the day. I didn’t become familiar with every street and road in the area. Returning from dropping some mail in the box a woman stops me and asks me where a particular street was.
“Sorry, no idea. Go to the variety store over there and buy a  map maybe?”

I know, she probably thought Dennis Leary wrote a song about me. But really. If you need to get somewhere, and you don’t bother to figure it out ahead of time, expecting that a random stranger on the street can accurately direct you is wishful at best. A map can direct you perfectly.

A few years ago I wandered over to my barber for a haircut, when two women in a car asked me where a street was. Didn’t sound familiar, so I told them I couldn’t help them. “Go buy a map maybe?” 

When I got home my curiosity made me look it up. It was a short street somewhere up on the Mountain, diagonally on the other side of the city. Never had cause to be there, totally unfamiliar with the area. So here these dips were, aimlessly driving around, not sure where they were, no idea how to get to where they were supposed to be, hoping that random strangers far from their intended location could direct them perfectly to it.

Maybe I’m strange, but if I am going to an area I don’t know, I research it ahead of time. There is this incredible invention called the internet. It provides you with maps, directions, now even photos of the exact place you have to be. Even when it didn’t exist there was a thing called a library, chock a block full of great info. Or I just ask of the place I am going to if they can give me some clues. If not, many places sell cheap gold mines of information called maps. If the place I am in currently doesn’t have those maps, I will get one the instant I hit the ground in an unfamiliar location.

This all seems amazingly logical to me. But I am probably strange.

1 comment:

  1. I love maps. Especially terrain maps. Being paranoid...er...I mean 'prepared'...I have lots of maps. If we have a solar flareup or something similar and I lose my GPS devices...oh well. I'll just start kicking it old skool again with my paper maps. My wife even bought a map of the area we live in now and memorized it BEFORE we moved here. She knew most of the major north-south routes and how to get to job interviews and such without my help. I know at least seven different ways to get the 31 miles from my work to my house. If I ever make it out east or you make it out west we can have a beer and look at the maps that got us there.