Saturday, June 12, 2010

M is for Maps

Super cute map in Kobe, Motomachi

Some of the things I do are just random, some other dictated by rational thinking. To guess what is what you'd have to know me to a certain degree.

One of the things I rationally did, was choosing the picture for my profile because, although I don't have many nice pictures of me, this one explains a lot about me.

Taking a closer look at it, in fact, one can see that I am standing in front of a big map.
It's not just the casual picture taken in a touristy moment, it's more like a general attitude.

I love maps.
I own a number of maps. No matter where I am, no matter if my bags are stuffed, there is always place to collect more maps - those with funny cartoons, those with numbers for sightseeing, those you find at information centers (of course, different versions of the same place) and those you might just find in the telephone book...

Once - oh my, that's embarrassing - I even stole a map.
I swear it was absolutely unintentional and I would have brought it back, hadn't I been almost a hundred miles away from the scene of the crime (Omaha, Nebraska - football team map!).

This makes me feel a little bit like Dora the Explorer, except that I don't go around singing "we did it, we did it" and that she only has one map.
Which is very helpful but not fun.
In fact, my main preoccupation while reading a map is NOT finding the right direction - you could argue that I use maps more or less to "successfully get lost" - but to have a general overview of urban planning, or of what is next to me and what is too far to even bother...which is the shortest way to get to a place and if there might be obstacles to reach my destination - obstacle is usually anything larger than a three lane street.

I have no cognition of north and south - for that I rely on light and shadows (primitive, but effective) and therefore I am very fond of the Japanese information booths you can find almost everywhere on the street.
They are always pointing in the direction you're looking at. How easy is that?
No turning of heads.

So, if I come back from some vacation, the one thing I will certainly bring back - instead of some funky object or dust-catcher - is a dozen of maps.
Plus more paper to fill up my collection.

And you can bet it will all be in my hand baggage.


dede said...

anche io sono una grande fan di mappe assortite, ne ho una collezione notevole e l'anno scorso ho preso seriamente in considerazione l'idea di buttare tutto nella spazzatura, ho cominciato ad aprirne una, poi un'altra, e alla fine le ho rimesse tutte nella scatola. Lascerò tutto in eredità alla Fondazione per la conservazione e la salvaguardia delle mappe

Mari said...

ciao Dede!
Ma no: non si butta, non si butta...anche io ho una discreta ereditá da lasciare e spero che non sia tutto vano (ih ih).