Monday, February 24, 2014


My little world at about 7 AM. The bus ride I take to North Central High School most Saturdays
is very different from the one I passed through this last weekend to get to Warren Central High School.
The former is a pretty ride, lined mostly with nice houses that the owners have taken care to repaint and restore.
The latter was another world, where several homes had graffiti on the front, marking places where
someone had died, probably violently. The difficulties most of those folks have in keeping a roof over their
families' heads and food in their bellies can be seen in the faded paint, torn siding, and rotted wood
on many of the structures. My efforts to get into shape, to end my obesity and to *find* George Clooney
are very First World difficulties, set set in the shadows of the homes I passed.
This winter has been hard on everyone, everywhere. 
Too much snow in places that don't see a lot of it, 
drought on the West Coast. 
The rivers here are over-running their banks 
while others are going dry.
The world is full of people with serious problems.
The TV news doesn't even begin to describe 
the range of ecological, biological 
and political issues that face us.
 In comparison, I am a simple woman 
with decidedly First World problems. 
Today, I will go to swim, determined to make up 
the time lost due to weather-related cancellations 
of our practices, while other folks just try to survive 
another day. I remind myself of this reality
every time I start to bitch. Well, I do most of the time.

Last Saturday, the practice usually held at North Central 
High School was held instead at Warren Central, 
on the far east side of town. I left home at 6 a.m. to
catch the bus downtown where I would catch another bus
that'd take me to the 9500 block of East 21st Street. 
From there I would just walk a half-mile south 
to the high school to make the 9 a.m. session. 
Easy peasy, right? Right.

Fucking Google maps.
The Indygo transit system website links to
Google maps to show viewers routes to their 
destinations. I'd used the website to plan my trip,
allowing about thirty minutes to find the correct building
and to change into my swimsuit. The ride to the
east side of town was okay. I got off the bus 
near the 9500 block were I expected to find a cross
street that would take me south to the school.
Nah-dah. Instead, I found myself in an older housing
development made up of 1960's ranch homes
sited along winding side streets. I could see the high
school through the trees and roof tops, but I could not
reach it because every road leading from the street 
I was on was actually a cul-de-sac, a dead end.
I suppose I should have known that, when the gray line
on the map describing the walk from the bus line 
to the school ended in a squiggle, it wasn't 
to describe a round-about but was instead 
showing a knot of its own confusion.

Frustrated, I walked west, back to Post Road, the 
last north-south intersection I had passed on the bus.
Dogs barked at me from their yards, large bite-osaureses
warning me of their intent to eat the middle-aged
woman who'd entered their territory.
Their woofing declarations were taken up by
their canine neighbors along the way as I walked 
the half-mile back to the intersection, then 
south another half mile to Sixteenth Street, then east 
AGAIN! repeating the half mile to the school.

Of course, I was very late to practice, but I did get 
to swim for a while. The pool was very nice, 
I saw some nice people, and I got an additional bit of 
exercise in the form of three miles of walking.
But I hated being late and was embarrassed that
my First World dependence on an e-map 
had influenced my poor decision.
Effing Google maps.

No comments:

Post a Comment