Dear Mapquest Editor, Mapmaker, Computer, etc.
Over the years we’ve shared a tenuous relationship. Sometimes you’re incredibly helpful, like that time I drove from Baltimore to DC without getting lost in Southeast. I managed to get to my grad school classes in Catonsville, Maryland via two different routes thanks to your amiable assistance.
However, after working together in this new location for the past year-and-a-half, I must ask, have you ever been to New Jersey? Is the term “jughandle” a part of your vocabulary? Are you familiar with the concept of a divided highway? Do you know that cars can’t drive through concrete barriers without severe damage and injury?
Perhaps, like me, you were lucky enough to grow up in a state where the cars came before the people. Back in Arizona, drivers must love you. The perfectly straight streets that meet in perpendicular intersections exactly one mile after the previous one must make your job easy. If someone perchance misses his/her turn, he/she only needs to make three right turns to get back on track. Not so in my new homeland.
Here in New Jersey, and other locations throughout the Northeast, three right turns could put you in a whole other county… or state (they’re smaller here, you know). There’s also an innate aversion in the Garden State to sufficiently sized street signs so that roads meeting at major intersections are merely shrugged at instead of clearly indicated. Sometimes you just have to guess at which road is the one you’re supposed to take and pray that you don’t get lost in Newark somehow.
With so many pitfalls, construction zones and shady neighborhoods, Jersey is the ideal place for Mapquest show its stuff! I mean, who’s impressed by good directions in Midtown Manhattan or Phoenix? It’s a grid! But the backroads on Springsteen songs are a challenge, and one that Mapquest should be able to handle.
While I’m not ready to abandon you yet, my cartographic lover, I must admit that the call of the GPS mistress rings like a siren song in my ears. I’ve even indulged in an affair with Google Maps. I implore you, step up to the plate. Take a few trips off the Turnpike and actually learn where the roads go in the Jerz, then you can give me directions.
XOXO, Shtetl Fabulous