Hmmmmm. Aside from brand names such as xfinity, xcel, and xerox, I don’t know a lot of x words aside from xenophobia and many from chemistry class–xylitol, anyone?
X does get used as a personal mark if you can’t write your own name, and its often a way to mark one’s choice. And of course, X marks the spot on any good treasure map! Coupled with the X of “you are here”, X and maps are related.
I like maps. I find looking at them useful in understanding relationships, whether of neighborhoods in a town or city, or of a larger geographical area, or even a star map, showing constellations and nebulae. My dad, who loved hiking and was active in mountain rescue, used to have file drawers filled with topographic maps he used for hiking. As kids, we all learned to read maps and the cardinal directions: N, S, E, W. While some of Dad’s demands could be annoying and frustrating, patience not always his forte, understanding and using maps is something I value, and particularly use them when traveling.
While it’s really handy to be able to look at maps online and do a little virtual exploring, for actual travel I much prefer the larger format of a physical map. The larger “screen” provides me a much better sense of how a region is put together. Sure, its very handy to get directions in my ear as I’m driving (an unanticipated benefit of wearing hearing aids), but if I really want to understand where I’ve been and am going, the big paper map is my go to. The scope of my phone maps is much too narrow for me to comprehend relative positions.
Later this week, BA and I are leaving town on a road trip, and we will visit some national parks in Utah before meeting our Road Scholar group in Flagstaff, AZ to spend some time exploring some of Navaho and Hope sites in Arizona and New Mexico. I’m looking forward to the trip, and in addition to our current road atlas, I have a four corners area map I purchased in anticipation. What’s here? What’s there, and over there? My vagabonding tendencies are showing. Sometimes I want to go directly to the X, and others, let’s skip the x and see what’s around. And given the recent wildfires in the area, now fortunately controlled, the possible need to evacuate remains in my consciousness. In an unfamiliar area, I want a real map!