My wife has been developing this terrible habit every time she cleans out my car. She keeps trying to throw my roadmaps away. The first time I thought it was an accident, but now I know better. For some reason she has this vendetta against my roadmaps and every week I have to retrieve them from the recyclable bin and restore them to their rightful place, in the glovebox.
"This is nuts," she says, after another failed removal attempt. "They're useless. And besides, we can barely fit the registration in the glovebox, it's so crammed."
"I'm not planning on getting pulled over by the cops anytime soon."
"Can we at least weed out some of the ones you're never gonna use? You're not going back to Montreal in the immediate future, are you?"
"You never know."
"That map is from 1973. This is ridiculous."
Of course I understand her point. Maps have virtually become obsolete, almost overnight. They just take up space. Smart phones have completely overtaken them. Smart phones are completely reliable, up-to-date, they can show you current traffic patterns and warn you about accidents. I use them myself, on the road, when necessary, and I appreciate their value.
But you know. . . there's just something about an old map.
Maybe it's the size. A smart phone will give you a little three-inch rectangle, but with a road map, you can get the big picture. You can see the entire region, the entire state. And old road maps have, oh, I don't know, character. And it's not just the ancient coffee rings, or the scribbled ink in the margins . . . it's how they remind you of things. Places you've been. Trips you've taken. It's how you know that one thumb placed on a highway map is equivalent to about 20 miles. How the distance between your little pinkie and your thumb tip is about 2 hours, if you're going the speed limit. (A little less, if you're a lead foot.)
And yes, maybe they're becoming obsolete, but there are a lot of obsolete things that I still like. Like maps. And handwritten letters. And doing my own math when it comes to figuring out a tip, instead of just using the calculator on my phone. (I keep a No.2 pencil and a little notebook in my coat pocket, all the time.)
So I'll keep my smart phone, and I'll use it when I'm on the road--every new city I pull into, for instance, I always need to find a public swimming pool, and smart phones are great at providing this necessary information. But when it comes to the big picture, well, those old roadmaps do just fine. So please, honey, for the sake of our marriage: just let the roadmaps be.
Until Next Week,