the relativity of distance and location

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I still haven’t driven in Honolulu. Most of the times I’ve been there I wasn’t old enough to drive anyway, but even the times I’ve been there now as an adult I’ve managed to avoid it, relying on friends, family, The Bus and my legs.

This last trip in particular got me thinking about the relativity of distance and location. The combination of being driven places and being a kid made most things seem far away. I had memories of places, but since I didn’t have to get us from Point A to Point B the in-betweens and the things in relation to each other were kinda fuzzy, and for some reason, although I love maps, I’d never really looked at one of Honolulu.

When I was there at Christmas I did look at the map some, it was fascinating to get some idea of where things actually were in relation to each other. Also to see what I was seeing on my walks shown on the paper, how the city clings to the edge of the island, fingers running up the ridges. The walking around also gave me more of a sense of where things were, and surprisingly I could walk to things that used to seem like a long drive away.

Also, what had seemed like a long trek to the library was now just a few blocks away. Part of me was disappointed that it wasn’t this great adventure to get there like it was in my mind. I still have those childhood memories though, and it’s a good reminder of how the changes in our lives as we grow give us a different relationship to our physical world. The sense of distance changes, the wanting to go further afield for adventure, the returning to places which are familiar and yet not the same.

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