Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Midnight Stroll

I don't usually stay up until midnight, but when I do, strange things happen.
Lincoln, Nebraska is not a hard city to learn to navigate in. The streets running from north to south are numbered, and the streets running from east to west are lettered. When the city planners ran out of alphabet, they just started giving the streets names.
Friends visiting from out of town have often made fun of A Street, which is pronounced by the locals with a long a. The street sign inevitably get some laughs: “Look, it’s a street!”
It's not hard to figure out where you're going in Lincoln, that is, unless you're downtown, but that's another story.
My neighborhood is outside the letter zone and easily navigable by numbers. Most corners have two or at least one street sign, and all of them are lit up with street lamps at night. You can’t miss the street signs unless you’re purposely doing so.
Last night before bed I was at the computer finishing a few things (read: “playing a game”). The door was locked, but the light was on in the front room, and after a few minutes I became oblivious of time.
Until the doorbell rang.
I looked at the clock. 12:01. Who could be ringing my doorbell at midnight?! I thought. I got up to go see.
The only light was from the inside of the house (no porch light inviting anyone in or anything), but I could discern two people standing on the porch. Due to the late hour, I refused to open the door.
“Can I help you?” I said, in a tone that suggested to them that it was a bit late to be out for a walk.
One of them asked for directions to a numbered street nearby.
“Well, since this is X7th* Street, and they count up to the west, X9th Street would logically be two blocks that way,” I said, in a tone that made clear to them that I wasn’t expecting to give a navigation lesson so late.
I pointed west, and after double checking the direction, they went off to whatever destination they’d been headed to when they got so turned around in this easily navigable city as to have to ask for directions at the nearest house with a light on at midnight.

Maybe the next time they go for a midnight stroll, they should take a map.

*I don’t really live on X7th Street. The first numbers have been removed to discourage those who read this blog from coming to my house and ringing the doorbell at midnight.

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