Thursday, May 24, 2007

Back in the day, I was the original MapQuest.

I used to have maps all over the place. It started when I was a kid. I’d steal my dad’s old National Geographic magazines to line my walls of my bedroom with pin-ups --not of the nekkid tribal ladies -- but of the insert map supplements. I was surrounded with views of the U.S. and the Arctic and the former Soviet Republic… In no time, I knew the elevation of every Himalayan mountain, the average rainfall of the Amazon river basin, the capitols of all the African countries… (my favorite was Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou)

Over the years, my tastes changed -- maybe even matured -- which could be indicated by the decorations: The comic book collections came down and were converted to classic rock collages consisting of Clapton and The Clash, which later gave way to fine framed artwork by family members… But the maps were always there. Being a man of the world, or at least knowing what it looks like, never goes out of style.

Now that I’ve moved in with my girlfriend, though, I’ve had to make further changes. Pieces of my furniture and art won’t work with Adelphia’s decorative style. Okay. I can compromise. I managed to talk her out of keeping her shocking pink couch with the zebra striped pillows and rug. I guess I could give up some of my stuff, ‘cause it’s not – what do you call that style? “Post-modern-poke-your-eyes-out”?

But it was pretty painful to part with my wall-sized world map. Though hardly hearkening back to my prepubescent pushpin poster days -- this chart was nicely framed and with a classic artistic display -- it was simply too big to fit on any wall. Or so Adelphia said. I justified it by telling myself that I never cared for the Mercator projection, which expands the areas of the map near the poles, making Greenland look gargantuan enough to gobble up all of Africa.

But now my framed France map from the bygone Gallic era failed to win endorsement. Ditto for my tiny old gold world pic. As we bickered over beautifying, I reluctantly back-burnered my best stuff until I got tired of banging holes in the brick walls until bam! Bye-bye genteel geography. No more maps for Mikey.

Still, our place looks great. It was hard work getting it all fixed up, and now that all the decisions are done, Adelphia suggested we take a vacation. Something local, like Palm Springs or Big Bear or San Simeon. Maybe Hawaii… or hey, how ‘bout Italy?

Amid our map-free apartment, I muttered. “I don’t know where any of that is.”


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