Friday, 1 September 2017

The Map Story

There was a piece to come up today on Alabama (my home state) and essay of sorts centered on the fact (suggestion) that Alabamians can't read maps.  So in the case of a tornado warning....you have to actually read out individual houses with folk's names....telling them to run for the storm-shelter.

It was of course a parody....but after you sit and think over it....yeah, probably around 10-percent of the adults in the state of Alabama cannot read a map.

I noted this coming up around the 8th grade while attending an Alabama school.  The teacher wanted a public speech moment, and force kids to stand up at the front and give some two-minute  explanation of how to get from the school to their home (may at the most....5 miles away).

It pained (a usual Alabama term) a number of kids.  They were given an entire day to write some basic words down, and it really didn't matter.

Some kids were lucky and lived on state highway 207.....meaning two sentences at the most.  Some had to inject north, south, east or west into the commentary, and I noted from several folks that they used wrong direction.

Some kids refused to identify road numbers, and just said the 4th right turn after such-and-such church, or identified themselves to the state-line.

Barns were identified by several kids....as were churches....cemeteries.....general stores.

I led the folks on a 20-odd mile route explanation (my house was at the most two miles away)....taking folks past the state-line....up into the Appleton region (complete with dirt roads), back across the state-line.....adding descriptive notes along the way with house-trailers, combines, and oaks.

The thing is.....reading maps just isn't some talent that you need much in life.  I grew up with people who haven't been more than 300 miles away in their entire life (these are people over the age of fifty).
You can talk to a hundred Alabama folks, and at least forty of them will tell you that their limit in life is one state away (going to a Braves game), and that they still keep a big Atlas under the car-seat for special trips.  If you brought up the idea of driving across the US....to Oregon?  Oh....that'd freak some folks out.

It's just the way that it is.

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