145 - The Madonna Map Syndrome

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The cyclist pauses amid fields of produce that stretch toward the horizon, punctuated only by farms and roads. He stares in bafflement at a road map far too elaborate for its featureless surroundings. This rather nice picture reminds me of that line in the Madonna song Like A Virgin: Didn’t know how lost I was until I found you.


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The picture was taken here from this website, detailing the bike-trips of Bob Lucky in his native US and across the pond in Europe. This particular photo was taken while en route to the Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy (France).

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"We took an arbitrary direction, and for the first and only time on our trip, we encountered a road map on a sign – right there in the middle of nowhere", writes Mr Lucky. "Len stared at the map for a while and shrugged his shoulders. I took my turn trying to decipher it, and soon gave up. We had no idea where we were supposed to go to get to Mont-St-Michel. Once again we took an arbitrary direction."

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A perfect illustration, I think, of what I would like to call the Madonna Map Syndrome, in reference to the aforementioned song quote: the map is too complicated to ‘click’ with the map-reader, who is left feeling even more lost than before he consulted it. Fortunately for Mr Lucky, his name proved ominous:

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"After the next turn, we got our first view of the abbey off in the distance. It was an exhilarating sight, and one that would be with us for the next day of traveling."

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