UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

NEW SPECIMENS OLD SPECIMENS THE SCIENTIST MY LOG CONTACT ME
04/02/2006 - 4:34 p.m.

WHERE SHE IS GOING

It was such an easy conversation. "Oh, yes," I assured her. "You do know where it is. It is just down Port Road. It's on the left after you cross over the river." She knew instantly where it was. No need for a map. No need for Yahoo directions. No likelihood of a call later saying, "I'm at X and Y intersection. How do I get there again?" It is nice having her drive and it is even nicer that Day's sense of direction is so good. Truth be told, it's vastly superior to mine. I know the area by having painfully and repeatedly driving the streets and constructing a mental map. She passes by once or twice and she knows.

I send her off and, if I must worry, I worry only about her lack of experience as a driver. She knows where she is going and she will get there. Even better, I do not have to rack my brain for very, very careful directions---a definite strain on someone like me. Instead, I have to give good directions—still a strain but less of a strain. Any hesitation on my part and she simply turns to Yahoo, downloads her directions, and off she goes. (She does not usually turn to FogieKnight because his map of the immediate area is deficient although he has a great sense of direction.)

From her days of bicycling in the neighborhood, she already has a basic map in her head of the immediate area. I suspect that, within months, her mental map will be far superior to mine. Mine has some left and right and an occasional grasp of north and south. That north and south is added largely by my ability to remember that that big lake, the one called Michigan, is to the east. I learned the streets of this town by remembering that, if I went east, I would eventually hit Lake Michigan. I learned the streets of this town by remembering that, if I was at Lake Michigan and put it at my back, I was going west. Day simply knows north, south, east, and west and how she does it is as much of a mystery to me as how her father does it.

Still, it adds up to the same thing. This girl is headed on a reasonable route and will arrive in reasonable time. This girl knows where she is going.

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