16 August 2015
papersquare 009: maps
I like maps, especially of places I have been to. The lines of streets labelled with names brings back just as much, even more sometimes than a photo does. For no-one would take a photo of three British tourists turning a map around and around, confused as only non-Americans can be by the block system. Pointing in different directions, saying "It's that way," with some degree of confidence, followed by the quieter, "I think," disclaimer.
Something about the regularity of blocks confuses me, used to navigating by landmarks, bends. The compass points are meaningless to me, and the numbered streets just as opaque to one of my companions. It is a hot afternoon and we are laden with books; and this memory of us stood on the corner of 13th and NW Couch is caught in the map. We had only a brief dip into the city streets, no time for wandering and learning the landmarks that would help us navigate; "If that is behind us, and that street is 13th, then we must be here?"
The map gives us the illusion that we know where we are in the world.