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Recently, I wrote a blog about how much I loooove the new ‘street view’ on Google maps.  I’ve been telling everyone about it, proselytizing to anyone who’ll listen about  how cool it is, how you can seen things from a totally different (panoramic!) point of view.  And then my friend said “yeah, just another tool for stalkers!”  Bubble burst.

Yeah, if someone had your address and your city had street-view available, ok, sure, it’s possible.  But I have to argue that not every city in the world has this view available, and I’m gonna just guess that most rural areas of the US are not open to this feature either.  Sure, a panoramic view of the more woodsy areas of Tennessee might be all nice and scenic, but not perhaps very useful.  I guess what I’m saying is that if you live in a rural area or small town, you’re probably safe.

Now.  This brings me to an incident that occurred to me last weekend, which is related to the above in a stalker-ish way.

Let me start by saying that I go for walks fairly often in the park next door; so does most of Nashville.  You can’t swing a stick without hitting a runner/walker/biker/dog-walker.  Everyone here walks in the park and in this area in general.  So I don’t think much of it when I go for a walk, after dark, in a very public and well populated area, on a Saturday night.  Or any night, for that matter.

This past Saturday, I went for my walk later because I am not a fan of the summer heat.  As I walked down a street next to the park, I heard a man calling out (from his balcony, I presume)– ‘hey!  hey you! hey I wanna talk to you!’  I am, at the time, the only person on the sidewalk; I don’t dare turn my head.  This continued until I ducked into the park.  I’m not sure if this man has tried this method of meeting gals in the past & it worked, or if he was just brave.  Or something.

I continued to walk, and after half an hour, headed back towards my flat.  Crossing the street, I was passed by a man in a truck: he laid on his horn as he flew by.  Nice.  I crossed the street after he passed, only to see him slam on his brakes and start backing up in the middle of the road.  Er, excuse me?

I kept walking towards my drive, and he backed up until he was right in front of it.  I thought briefly it must be someone I know.  The man turned down his radio and motioned to me from inside his tinted windows to come closer.  After concluding that this was not someone I know (or want to know), I turned to walk up the hill to my apartment.  Oh, shit.  What if he just sits there and doesn’t leave– what if he sees where I live??

Contingency plan immediately forming in my head:  I will walk across the quad and knock on a male neighbor’s door.  After what seemed like ages, the guy in the truck drove off, luckily before I got to my apartment door.

This might seem harmless to some, but to me, I find it a little bit frightening that people are so bold.  I’ve asked my male friends if they think this is acceptable or common behavior; they say no, but at the same time, they aren’t so surprised.  Huh.

So.  My elation over the street-view maps is a bit deflated now.  It’s not like I’m giving out my address to every Tom Dick & Scary out there (although apparently I don’t have to as they are following me)  but with the frightening ability of technology and the ease of access to practically anyone’s information, seems it could be a possible tool for evil.

And here I just thought it was cool.  Silly me.


I’ve been wondering lately what a map of my life might look like. Thankfully, Google maps has the answer.

Obviously, there are many different kinds of maps, and though I don’t know what a figurative map of my life would look like, I can see the geographical one online. The Google Earth map was impressive at first, but this new ‘street view’ map is bloody fantastic.

Ok, so it might be a bit weird to look up a panoramic view of your own street as you sit in your apartment… but the street view of my apartment was actually done two winters ago: so really, it’s like an old photograph. And what do old photographs do but bring back memories.

The views of my street and apartment were taken on a cloudy, wintry day, sometime (I’m guessing) in late 2007/early 2008. I can tell this because the new condos that were built right next door to me were still under construction; I can also tell by what neighbor’s cars are parked in our lot. I was hoping for my car to be in the shot, but alas, it isn’t!

After looking up my street, I panned over to the park next door. The panoramas in the park were also in winter, probably in December: it is a very cloudy day, but one can still see the unlighted xmas decorations everywhere. Suddenly, unexpectedly, I was taken back to xmas of 2007. This happened so quickly and I had such a rush of emotions, I immediately burst into tears.

WTF? Again, this was very much like opening a box of old photos and being transported to another time. It still amazes me how memory works, how strongly it is tied to place, smell, sound, etc. Seeing the park in winter (even though I saw it pretty much every day this past winter) during a specific time was a bit overwhelming. A flood of memories has come over me of that particular xmas.

Not sure how often the maps are updated, but it’s kind of nice to be able to look at my street, my neighborhood, and see the changes that have occurred in the past two years. It’s also a lot of fun to look at some of the other major cities that have the street view available: I’ve been all over the world today– London, Rome, Australia! Virtual travel from the sofa– you gotta love it.

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