[LMB] OT: directions, Was How Did You Learn to Read?

WILLIAM A WENRICH wawenri at msn.com
Mon Oct 16 20:07:50 BST 2017


One time in Meridian, Mississippi, I saw a sign with four different route numbers stating you were going North, South, East, and West at the same time.

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On Oct 16, 2017, at 12:49 PM, Margaret Devere <margaret at devere.net<mailto:margaret at devere.net>> wrote:

Jane writes:


Here in Chicago, routes I-90 & I-94 are posted as east and west, which they are, speaking as transnational routes. But also, here, they go around the toe of Lake Michigan, and actually run north-south.  Jane Hotchkiss
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Me:

Somewhere on the east coast, maybe in New Jersey, I remember seeing a highway sign telling you that the road you were traveling was, simultaneously, XXX North and YYY South. I suppose it could be true -- I've never looked at a map to try to find it.

In Denver, people who need the assistance usually orient by the mountains -- they're toward the west. Works only if you can see them, though.

Spatial orientation is a major cognitive difference between people, rather like learning styles. If you're giving directions, you need to know who you're talking to. Unfortunately, "left" and "right" differ depending on where you're coming from. I usually over-compensate by saying something like "Turn right, or south, at the third intersection. There's a big church on the corner so you can't miss it." All the clues I can think of :)

OTOH, being a person who can navigate, I get annoyed when people do that to me. I grew up in the US state of Kansas, where in the rural areas ;there is a very regular grid system, with roads spaced about a mile apart. If you want to get from here to there, you can take any road north, and then any road west, and then some more north -- however you feel that day. They all get you there. The smaller towns are also mostly grids -- no reason not to at the times the towns were being built. Maybe that contributes to my preference for orienting by north/south/east/west.

Have you observed what GPS and its ilk are doing to people's sense of direction? One person was giving us a ride to and from a town 40 miles away, to a place we'd both been many times. He insisted on entering the addresses into the GPS, even when we were coming home. We insisted that we'd be able to get back to our house unassisted. Another friend brought up MapQuest for me to get from her office to a downtown bar. MapQuest routed me onto the interstate, then through downtown. I said that I could do it on my own, then went around downtown and straight to my destination.

Other people have a route they follow, and if they get off that route, they're in trouble. They've never put together a picture of the whole. I play a game of trying to get from here to there using a route I've never used before, or side streets. I like to look around me and say "I've never been here before." When I first moved to Denver, 36 years ago, I took day trips into the mountains, just driving randomly. I still do that, but I've usually been on the road before. However, the latest version of the game is, whenever you come to a choice point, one person in the car chooses left, right, or straight. We take turns. We get to some good places :)

Margaret


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