Tuesday, June 3, 2014
When the map IS the destination
With family visiting, I wish to be a helpful guide. Instead, I am Google's poster girl for ha-ha, you can't get there from here.
I know we still have a Los Angeles-Orange County Thomas Bros. from the 80s. I have vowed to find it. Last time I used it as reference, whole named communities had erupted where open fields once stood. Still, I could find my way around.
It may be a brain hemisphere thing or an age thing or just a stubborn, old school, I used to be good at this thing but the indiscriminately expanding and contracting maps I find on the internet leave me sad and dizzy. No one in this household has GPS, we don't talk to electronic devices nor do they talk to us. Give me an awkwardly folded tea table-sized sheet of AAA paper with routes and destinations on it and I will make my way home from a ghost town across the Nevada border. From here I can pinpoint that hidden gem of a used record store (now you KNOW I'm living in the past) near the railroad tracks in the general vicinity of Culver City. Maybe they were old streetcar tracks.
Nearly weeping with frustration and impatient at being a map person in a world which seems to have no more use for them, I have tried day after day to be of some earthly use to my family as they seek to either revisit or discover charming spots in the general vicinity. Since I can't always remember the name of a street, a map would be of great assistance. Sadly, I think I am doomed to disappointment.
And since I'm carping, in addition to not accepting a world without paper maps, I also reject a world in which one needs an internet connection to find a phone number. I reject that so many of the businesses and products on which we relied have vanished from my neighborhoods. Who but a dinosaur would yearn to walk into a, say it again, record store with even a wink of hope at finding a CD for a talented but not widely known singing cowboy poet? A dinosaur or a fool. These are vexing days, having our new age and what it considers irrelevant thrown in my face four or five times before lunch. The world I knew and relied upon has gone the way of the collar button and carpenters who would build you a custom bookcase for $15. I know, it is what it is, but I don't have to like it.