I love maps. I don’t know why I love them, but I do. I don’t know why I think they’re so cool, so fascinating, but I do. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I like knowing where I am, where I’m going and where others are.
Maybe its because I’m so visual. I have some thing about me that makes me want to see and touch things. I’m not much on concepts or visualizing, I need something physical. Something to touch and to be able to trace the lines. Its one thing to know you’re on 26th and south of you is 27th, but its another to know where 27th starts and where it goes and for how long. Its nice to know multiple ways to get somewhere, and to know how connected we all are by the same streets and roads and bridges we all use.Computer maps aren’t good enough, although they’re fun – I need paper, which is odd considering my affinity for all things computerized.
I can sit for hours poring over maps, “finding” countries I didn’t know where they were before, testing myself to see if I know as much as I’d like to know, etc. I also love old maps, to see what others thought the world was like, knowing how much further they had to go to fill in all those blank spaces.
I wish I knew more, I wish I could tell you where Senegal is off the top of my head, or how to spell Philippines without having to wait for the spell checker to tell me it only has one L and two P’s. The cool part, to me at least, is that I’m learning and maybe someday I’ll even start with the capitals…I already know that Guinea-Bisseau’s is Bisseau, but that’s cheating.
In my office at home I am surrounded by technology, books and maps. Its my own personal knowledge center. Part of me is hoping that I’ll absorb some of the information I see every day but I’m also enjoying the learning process. Unfortunately there’s no one to show off for, no one really cares if I know where Mali, Mauritania and Moldava are. Not really. Lately I have started taking geography quizzes online, just for fun, just to see if I really remember all the things I see.
I like find out how everything fits, where everything belongs. Maybe that’s what its about: no matter how crazy lives, politics and wars are, for the most part the map is going to stay the same. The land is not going anywhere. Countries may change names and maybe even borders, but you know that Egypt will always be in Africa and Uruguay in South Africa. There’s not going to be some big shift and suddenly things have moved around. With everything else in my life constantly moving, changing and shifting, it’s comforting to know at least a majority of the world is staying put.