Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our strange street

We live on a very bizarre street, one that loops upon itself and our house is located near where the loop crosses. So when someone gets to that point, all becomes quite confusing because both crossing lanes bear the same name, so where's that person to go?
Most people seem to lack spatial visualization skills and can't figure out what's going on. We see it all the time as we're observing delivering trucks without GPS, visitors or just pedestrians, get to that crossroad and not knowing what to do next.

Yesterday, following our daily run, we were sitting on our stone bench and watching the world go round. Our attention was caught by a lone jogger who, upon reaching that infamous intersection, seemed visibly puzzled, reached for a map in his pocket and tried to figure out where he was and where he should be going. After 5 minutes of frantic search, he finally gave up and turned around. When he got near our house we asked him if he was lost, “Yes” he said; he turned out to be a French PhD student attending Park City's annual math camp, an outreach program of the Institute for Advanced Study from Princeton. We explained the idiosyncratic situation and the young man seemed to understand; after all, he probably was a math wizard himself, but this whole story goes to show that we don't need much to entertain ourselves!

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