Msnowe's Blog

The course of mislaid directions never runs smooth

Posted in bottom's dream, directions, mental baking soda by m.snowe on May 1, 2008

M. Snowe veers away from the personal–but sometimes the personal smacks so much of the philosophical and inter-social that it’s unavoidable to be inspired by the seemingly mundane occurrences of the unholy inter-sanctum that is the nuclear family. Observe, if you will, the latest correspondence from a parental unit, relying directions to a certain person’s apartment (changes and routes have been blocked with red X’s so M.Snowe is not visited and summarily lambasted for her stupidity by an onslaught of blog-reading tourists).


Directions are to take XXX all the way to where it joins NJ Turnpike. You want to travel to Exit X C. Stay to the right when you reach toll booth and get off at right towards light rail. Go to bottom of ramp, stay straight and bear left under light rail tunnel. At traffic light, just past tunnel turn right. Turn left at next light which is just past light rail station. Stay on that straight and take first left which is X street. M. Snowe is at XX on left almost to end of street.

… then further email follow-up:
Oops, I meant XX not XXX. XXX is the BQE in Brooklyn/queens!

Diner is the Brownstone diner and pancake factory featured on drive-ins, diners and dives. See you around 8AM. We can either eat first or pack vehicular. Call me when you get close.”

First, it’s advisable to point out that the “light rail tunnel” in question is not, in fact, a light rail tunnel, but an overpass for cars. Particularly enjoyable is the line: “stay on that straight.” This road is naturally straight already. Is the direction-giver rather subtly suggesting that the driver will be drunk, or perhaps lack a steady hand to steer? Question: will they reach the manna and honey that awaits at the diner in the form of pancakes and maple syrup? Changes look dim.

Also, a little sprinkle of mental baking soda: This direction-giver regularly gives written & spoken directions peppered throughout with adverbs as if they were not directions, but instead a rather bland soup. Every other line of written direction began: “probably,” “maybe,” or “I think…” Also, this is the same person who took us on the crazy cross-borough bridge chase.

Bigger Picture:
What do direction-giving abilities say about us all? We ask politicians about complex issues like economic stimulus packages and the risks of moral hazard in the financial institution bailouts, political lobbyists and contribution conflict of interests, foreign policy missteps and the war in Iraq, humanitarian crises in Darfur & beyond, Iranian nuclear proliferation, the withholding of US funding to international family planning clinics merely because they perform abortions (apparently Roe v. Wade doesn’t apply to what we fund globally!), and etc., etc., etc. But when was the last time someone asked a candidate, or anyone in government, how to get from Tampa to New York (that is, when not on the campaign jet)? It’s important to take a step back, and regroup. The plans might be mighty, once someone is in office, or in a wider conception of goals and dreams. You could rely on puckish ingenuity, but chances are if you want to get somewhere, locationally, symbolically, or professionally, it takes more than a few fancy enchantments–and that’s often what politicians are spouting out all over the place–ideas, notions of change or (alternatively) experience, you name it. But a political pantheon trying to institute Bottom’s Dream only makes Asses out of us all. They hope to help the middle people, and end the unfairness, and bring about global change for the better–bring the country out of a recession of multiples: economic recession, global moral authority recession, independent and inspired thought recession, and the list goes on. Let’s forget about the end destinations ever-so-momentarily, and focus on producing the best, most concise directions possible, with the goals as only a shadowy anticipation behind all the action that needs to be taken in front of it. And that’s another important point of directions: they are created by a director, but they need to be, in the same breath, correct, and followed correctly. And that doesn’t mean that directions can’t be changed, improved, or altered in some way along the way. It’s a matter conscience, choice, and directional strategy.

Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear.