Saturday, July 23, 2005

A Serendipity

I had a delivery to York University today. To the Physical Resources building. Now, it's been nearly 30 years since I lived at the main campus. Another life. Another Larry. Seems like a dream now.

Anyway, I had no idea where this building might be. But I knew the main entrance on Keele St. So I drove south on Keele looking for the sign. I saw a sign come up quickly and turned fast so's not to miss it. Turned out not to be the main entrance. Shit, just a side road. Now where'm I gonna go?

I drove down the road a space to find a place to turn around. And there, on the right, was a sign reading "Physical Resources". Bingo! Wrong turn. Right road.

Now this is a huge sprawling building...the physical plant way back there, out-buildings all around. How to find the right place to go? I walked in the first door. No sign. No indication that this was the main entrance to the building. And inside, nothing but two long hallways with doors on either side. It'll take forever to find the right one, #1045. You know universities. The arrangement of rooms is not guaranteed to be logical or intuitive.

But then I look to the left, and there it is! The room I'm looking for. Right there.

I delivered that package from Guelph to North York in just over an hour. Sometimes all the threads come together to make a pin-stripe suit.

2 comments:

DoveTaler said...

I was born with absolutely no sense of direction. Now I don't make that statement lightly - I really do believe that an affinity for geography is a genetic trait. I get lost very easily. I grew up in a town where directions were very simple. The river flowed in a straight line from West to East. The USA was South. That left the opposite direction - North was the other way. All the town streets ran N, S, E or W. Then I grew up and moved away and nothing was every as simple again. I recently discovered that my big brother has the same geographical "lacking" when he got lost at the cemetery after we went to the funeral of my Aunt. All he had to do was follow the procession out... We just don't have that inner compass in our brains. Yet my daughter does - go figure. I got lost in a campground at night trying to make it to the washroom. It was pitch black. I gave up and let the kid direct me to the far end of the campground - she knew exactly where to go. She didn't rely on visual cues like I did - she had that inner compass. Now I don't go around in a continual state of being lost (although you, Larry, and my other good friends, may want to argue that point), since I've learned to trust intuition and my visual sense/memory of landmarks. I'll come upon a big tree and say, ok yes, this is where I turn - not remembering the big tree before I got there. So instead of being born with the compass in my head, I was born with an intuitiveness that I learned to trust in other parts of my life too. It is closer to a feeling than a fact - a different kind of knowing.

Larry said...

When I drove a hack in Hogtown, the rule was you had to take paying customers by the most direct route. (Sometimes the most direct route was actually more expensive than others you might take, but that's neither here nor there.) I developed this ability to see the map in my head, or rather my mind's eye. Like one of those maps you get from CAA or Mapquest where the route is highlighted. That's what I saw, and see still. Point of departure, destination, and a mentally highlighted line that runs from one to the other. Alternate possibilities light up as well, flaring briefly then fading...unless the alternate becomes, of necessity, the primary route.

I'm less confident with the use of landmarks. I've heard in fact that this is a technique used by women more than men. Maps were invented by men. Grids and hash marks and little squiggly symbols to make us feel technically ept.

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