I had to go into Atlanta Saturday for a meeting at a park. It was a last minute decision first marked by my leaving 15 minutes later than I should have…..It was again reaffirmed that I hadn’t planned well when I was “halfway” there and used my phone to make it the rest of the way. I’m a big believer in getting lost. It’s a lifestyle.
I used waze to locate the Park. I like Waze for the main reason you can crowd source police locations and traffic accidents. I admit it – I don’t want a ticket. Waze put me right at the park. I stopped. Looked. I was technically “in” the park with no administration building in site. I pulled off the road and said “Well – here we go – mapping guy gets lost”. I opened Google. Navigated to the park from “within the park”. It had me turn around and drive 300 feet back to where Waze had placed me. It was then I uttered a stream of cursing that no doubt would have offended the sensibilities of every good church going person within 1000 feet of my car. I rolled my windows up. I hated on the squirrel in front of me, the happy bird dancing on a tree limb, and I wanted to kick a chipmunk.
Instead of using the name of the park I used the address of the Park and that sent me somewhere different. Back to the main road. Turn Left. I looked and there was the Administration Building. I turned into the driveway except it was a dead end. I had driven beyond the entrance because the address is the building – not the driveway. Traffic was horrible. When I stomped up to the door a young lady greeted me with “it happens to everyone..Map is wrong”. I should know better.
When I was in the Caribbean doing addressing the last word as I jumped on the plane was “Don’t be surprised if no one knows their address”. In the three months of working down there it was a 50/50 shot when I asked a resident what their address is…or what they thought their address could be. A teacher I know is working on verifying addresses of students. Same thing. “A lot of kids don’t know their address…..“. In the Caribbean everyone was direction oriented and nice about lost people “Raaandy – you go down to the yellow building, turn right, walk till you get to the tamarind tree……”
I had to learn my address growing up. 3rd grade was where my teacher, Ms Robinson, held her own version of civics for the kids. We had to answer a phone. Meet public leaders. Learn our address. There was a test. I think we even had to talk to police officers but my brain has grown fuzzy on the details from 35+ years ago. We were instructed that if we moved we should learn that new address.
My Credit card was cancelled. I was standing in line and bought a burrito and my card was declined. I went home and called the company. “Well we mailed you a new card.“. I didn’t get it. “We mailed it to your address. For security reasons can you tell me your address?” Yes it’s Blah! No? OK How about BLAH? No? Ehhhhhh OK – My old address from two years ago…and No? WHAT ABOUT THIS? Ohhhhh – I used that when I moved. People were stealing my mail and I switched to paperless statements and purchased a PO Box. You mailed the new card in October of last year? Awesome. Anyone used it? No….OK – here is my new address.
A professional colleague messaged me and wanted me to help tie the US National grid to her fire hydrants. I did it. I spent a terrible amount of time with my brain “seized” up as I tried to understand why it sucked. Yes I finally said it – I don’t think it’s worth the time anymore. It’s outdated. I’ve had more people talk about it. It’s come up time and again in conversation. So I assigned each fire hydrant to the US National Grid. It was easy once I got over the inaccuracy of it. It’s only good to about 30 feet. Once I figured that out I decided the only time it was going to be useful is if you go into an emergency with a 7.5 topographic map and a ruler. My last piece of advice was to give all emergency personnel a GPS and a months worth of batteries. Assign each hydrant a GPS’d ID. At the end of the month if you run out of batteries you have bigger problems than fire hydrants.
Last night I sat in a hospital. I’m not terribly good at it. I fidget. I think way too much. I ended up on an article of something so revolutionary it was going to tear the doors off modern addressing and make a monster truck rally sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. What3words. The earth has been divided up into 57 trillion squares. Each one gets three words. My front door is “freedom.caked.stuns”. Damn right it does. ‘MERICA!.
I like the idea of having a three word address. I think ultimately it’s something a bit gimmicky or I guess I should say it might work for some areas…not so great for others. Having a 3 meter square on the ground with a unique identifier is great – except I’ve been places where that’s not enough. I’ve placed addresses every 5.28 feet on a job and at times I was scratching my head trying to make sure I had enough addresses. You can buy a one word address if the three words is too much to handle from What3words. Assuming People can read. If you can’t remember an address you aren’t going to remember three words. I know my parents wouldn’t and they can read. If I supplement freedom.cake.stuns (notice I’ve already mistyped my address – bonus points if you figure out where you end up) with my actual address then OK – you won’t accidentally leave my package next door. Of course, I’m only looking at my perspective. I’m not trying to deliver something to the wilds of Denmark. Who knows how this one plays out.
17+ years ago I was working on a job in North Carolina. I had left home way late. No smart phone just directions printed out from Map Quest. I drove across the state and pulled into town at midnight. I drove to the mapped address and no Holiday Inn. I finally found the Holiday Inn and they said “yeah – maps are wrong….happens to everyone“. Next day I’m in a boat looking at a dead dolphin and the guy working for NC DNR pulls out a GPS. Not just any GPS…..This thing was huge and it had something called “Selective Availability” turned off. I wanted to hold it. “NO – IF YOU AREN’T AUTHORIZED YOU CAN’T HOLD IT“. I wanted to look and he finally showed my location with a terribly long string of numbers. We wrote down the location and off we went. Later we went back and we couldn’t find the dolphin. Someone wrote the location down wrong.
I’m moving. Yesterday had me wondering where exactly. I know the general where. No – it’s not interrupting business for more than a day or two except it’s putting me more centrally located for work and life…and it’s a good thing and a long story. It made me a bit annoyed at the thought of having to haul Miso to a new spot. Moving is no big deal ultimately. Home will arrange itself into a cohesive thing at some point. Her where has dropped down to a 3 meter square area thanks to no eyesight. Her address is two crates and a towel. High enough to sit in my lap when needed.
According to the Internet – Confucious once said “No matter where you go – there you are”. Of course the next link down said that was wrong it was actually someone else – but don’t worry – everyone gets it confused because the internet is wrong.