8.01.2008

The Grid of Evil

The original city planners of Utah had a brilliant idea. Let's make all the streets straight and number then in order. So we have crazy addresses. Not only do you have a house number but then you have a street number instead of name. And everything starts in the middle of town and works its way outward so you must know North, South, East, and West in order to find any address. For example most people's address run something like this: 1362 E. 800 S. Sound simple enough. The tricky part came as the cities grew and streets were no longer straight or, more commonly, streets started and ended randomly, making it difficult to find an address. No longer can you start from the center of town and find 1362 E. 800 S. by driving up the Main street and turning on 800 S. until you come to house number 1362 E. Living here you are lulled into a false sense of security because it all sounds so simple. You can find any address! So, not the case!

There is a street in Salt Lake City that scares us to death. Whenever we get on it we get frantic. It not only runs contrary to the 4 directions but it weaves and turns. I feel as though I have entered another world when I get on this street. I never know where I will end up. It's a little surreal and I always feel as though I have stepped through the Looking Glass into a foreign land and I don't know how to get back.

Another problem is that everyone shortens the addresses. 800 S becomes 8th S to some people but not everyone. Once we got lost trying to find Hubby's Grandma's work. Of course we were meeting her to pick out floral arrangements for our wedding and we were already a little stressed. The address was somewhere around 6500 S. We searched from 65 S down to 6500 S before we finally found the little street with a strip mall. The main road that it was supposed to be off of also made a detour somewhere between 65 S and 6500 S and so we had to back track to get the right East address.

Two nights ago we were out walking to a geocache at the end of the street and around the corner. As we reached it a fire engine came screaming up the street. Not a problem, this is a main road (it runs SE and confuses the visitors). But it turned on MY street. I got a little worried and turned right back around. But then the police car right behind the fire engine turned on the street before mine. The next fire engine, also right behind the police car, turned on the street right after mine. I felt better at that point. Obviously the fire was not on my street. The driver of the first fire engine thought he could get to another neighborhood by my street which is stopped by a field and then starts up again on the other side of the field. The policeman lives in my neighborhood and knew the area and was able to turn on the street that went completely through. And the final fire truck must live even farther down the main road because he took the shortest and most direct route to the fire. The Grid has become a source of contention whenever I must go somewhere new. Thank goodness for maps.google.com!

1 comment:

denverallens said...

Finally, something to read! Keep it up!!!!! Love your blog!