Despite the advent of those little GPS travel boxes, I still love the romance of maps. I can stare at them for hours and run my fingers along roads, rivers, and CREASES imagining the countless places I can go when people tell me to ‘Get Lost’. I love seeing rare oddities in mirrors and discovering unusual places like a ‘full serve’ GAS station or a Polish hot dog shop, which apparently in some communities, is the exact SAME PLACE!
I have no need for my usual ‘puddy tat’ toys, fancy entertainment or complex puzzles whenever a map needs re-folding. I can literally spend hours trying to get a 4 X 5 foot map back into its flattened glove-box ready state. More often than not, un-folded maps will never again escape the size equivalency of a crumpled basketball and therefore are more suited to be recycled as a lumbar support, or for those really long road trips – ultra absorbent seat pads.
For some odd reason the street signs in the Midwest U.S. all have the same standard street names like First, State, and Main. The only difference is that each sign will have a varied suffix tacked on the end of the name like Road, Circle, Drive, or Way, though I always seem to end up in COURT? To make matters worse, even neighboring communities in short proximity to different U.S. States will have the EXACT SAME named cities in addition to those common stock street names as well. What is the problem - along with steel, cars, and VCR’s, are we now so lazy and incapable that we can’t even invent original names for our own streets and cities either?
Now this map clap-trap is clearly an untenable recipe for taxi hacks, street-people and perpetually confused kettle-heads like myself. Why is it so hard to mix up a few random Romanic letters with a dash of hyphen and add some flavorful expressions to make-up an easily memorable, half-baked yet original street name? My family happily looks forward to the day when I will be able to sanely drive my pickled brain to the intersection of ‘FIRST light’ & ‘STATE-of-mind’ without the need for a wrinkled map or a straight jacket. The goal of course is to eventually navigate, and hopefully legally parallel park, with NORMAL people, along a very busy but narrow ROCKY road called ‘MAINstream’.