New map in the corner pocket.

Back in 1998, when I told my parents I was moving to Arizona, my mother went through her house, grabbed every road map anybody had ever left there, and gave them all to me. I looked through the stack of more than thirty maps and said "Mom, I don't need all of these -- there are no routes from Michigan to Arizona that go through Nebraska". Her response was "Please take them in case you get lost". Okay....

So road maps for two-thirds of the country sat mostly unused in the map pocket of my car for many years, until the car itself was stolen in the summer of 2002. The car was recovered, but the thieves (never captured, and often referred to as "those bastards who stole my car") kept all the maps. When I moved back to Michigan a few months later, I made the drive using only a road atlas my insurance agents gave me, picking up a few new maps along the way (Missouri, Indiana, and Michigan still give maps away at rest stops, if anyone cares), and managing to avoid getting lost.

Still, I'd gotten used to having a large and unnecessary collection of maps, so when I accidentally came across an ad for a free map of Maryland, I filled out the form. Then I searched Google for "free map", and discovered sites offering free maps of the San Francisco area and America's Scenic Byways. Do I need those? Hell, no. Did I order them? Hell, yes. Now my car's map pocket looks a little less empty, and I'm ready for the next time I get lost and accidentally drive to Maryland.

Posted at 11:41:33 PM EDT on 18 October 2003 from Trenton, MI