Map Folding

The world can be pretty easily divided into two different categories of people who are  distinguished by meaningful criteria.  For example, there is the category of Ohio State football fans, and the category of the Great Unwashed.  There is the category of people who actually care about “reality TV” “stars” and will read clickbait articles about them, and the category of people who don’t know who those “stars” are and don’t give a flying fig about them.  There is the category of crass people who talk loudly on cellphones wherever they happen to be, even if it is an airport restroom, and people who think their conversations are private and are properly mindful of inflicting them on anybody who happens to be nearby.

map1And then there is the category of people who believe that paper maps should be properly folded, carefully returned to their condition when they were first acquired by the map user, and stored somewhere so the maps can be found and used for however long the maps may be needed.  The other category includes people who disregard, and in fact blissfully and willfully violate, all recognized conventions of map folding and will just fold and crease and crumple a map however they damn well please and leave it a complete mess, and perhaps even torn or with a wad of gum stuck to one corner.  The people in the second category then happily wait for someone in the first category to take the messed-up map they have left behind and carefully mend and return to its intended, well-folded, logical map state, thereby restoring order to the universe and allowing the cosmic tumblers to regain their balance.

I’m in the first category.

Proper map folding should not be a hard call, but apparently it is.  Do a Google search of “map folding” and you’ll actually find diagrams and directions and instructions on map folding, as if folding a highway map is as hard as putting together pieces of Ikea furniture without an Allen wrench.  This is ridiculous, because map folding is not all that complicated.  You start by finding the front cover of the map, and work backward from there, understanding that the ultimate goal is to fold the map so the front cover is, in fact, the front cover.

But at least people who run such searches are trying.   It’s the people who don’t even give map folding the Old College Try who need guidance and, probably, some form of psychological help.  Intentionally doing things the wrong way is undoubtedly a sign of a deeper, more pathological issue that perhaps has not yet been fully manifested.

Maps should be treated with the respect they deserve.


Global Nerd

IMG_1920I’ve always liked maps and globes.  I like the look of them, and I like the way that they can change.  I remember discovering an old atlas in my grandparents’ attic, leafing through it, and wondering about exotic places like the Ottoman Empire that could only be found on an outdated geography book.

I think maps are cool, so I was grinning ear to ear when Kish and I stumbled upon Metsker Maps in Seattle.  What a fantastic store!  It’s crammed stem to stern with standup globes, miniature globes, inflatable globes, wall maps, fold-out maps, ancient framed maps, hiking maps, and books about maps — as well as incidentals like a good pocket compass.

After wandering around for a while with a  kid-like look on my face, I went up to the guy behind the counter and said:  “This is the coolest store I’ve been in in years!”  He nodded knowingly, recognizing that I was just another globe geek who was letting my nerd flag fly.