May 28th, 2005

Self-Mapping

I've been spending too much time discerning the exact composition of belly-button lint that really doesn't deserve my scrutiny. Yesterday I started to feel really dirty. And no amount of showering helped. It wasn't until tonight's rain that my sense of cleanliness started to come back. Reading this story about a teenager who shares my love of maps finished the job:
It has to be said that Nick is anything but polished. He finds it hard to sit still when talking, twisting the telephone cord around his neck or fiddling with his fingers. His words sometimes come out in fits and starts, and another special education teacher, Paul Mifsud, says for a while Nick was hoarding leftover food in his locker.

"A lot of things made kids look at him as a pariah,'' says Anzaldo.

But then he'll ask you to test him. Name a place, he says. Anywhere in the city. Ask how to get there on the bus.

How about Coit Tower?

"Simple,'' Nick says. "You take the 38 Geary, get off at Third and Market. You walk to the 30 Stockton and take that north to Union and Columbus. Then catch the 39 to Coit Tower.''

Don't bother trying to stump him. He knows all the routes. For some reason, Nick has always had, as he puts it, "incredible taste for public transit.'' Living in Seattle, he memorized the public transit map. He can still recall most of it, as well in the other cities where he's lived.

"I have always been a map kinda guy,'' he says.
I identify very strongly with Nick. I sought refuge in maps the same way he does. But I always had a home in which to seek it. That's a fact I should spend more time remarking. It's certainly a lot more useful to contemplate than my own navel.
  • Current Music
    a memory of Sleater-Kinney

And the mind drips. . .

It's 11:25 on a Saturday night and I'm sitting here under the recessed floodlights feeling extremely good. I need to remember that I become a lion before the rain comes and a lamb afterwards. Rain on Memorial Day weekend after a much-hotter-than-usual week: it doesn't get much nicer than that except when you're leaving for the coast the following morning, which we are. I can almost taste the salt. Actually, I can taste the salt already and it's not from that Bisquick biscuit our well-meaning Promisekeeper neighbor brought over this morning. Sometimes you just have to remember the names for things. Particularly their private names. Tonight's was "phocine."
  • Current Music
    the sound of cars we can hear because the windows are open!