Monday, July 9, 2012

Maps from the Mind

If you're honest with yourself and me, you'll stop reading this right now.

Turn away from your computer, pick up a pen and paper, and immediately draw a map of the 50 United States from memory.

Only then will you have the right to read this post with a clear conscience.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

[see below for more]

Okay, so here's the deal. On a recent road trip, Daughter Number Three-Point-One and I felt moved to draw the U.S. from memory. Maybe we were inspired by our U.S. Senator Al Franken's parlor trick, but I don't think so because I had kind of forgotten about that.

Anyway, consistent with my belief that all adults-- especially those who think kids should take lots of test and have their whole lives determined by the outcomes -- should have to take tests and publicly declare the scores, I'm posting the outcome of my attempt in all its ignominious defeat and messy handwriting:

Hand=drawn map of the U.S.
Yes, there are some major problems there:

Hand=drawn map of the U.S. with yellow highlights on the worst mistakes

  • What the heck is going on with Utah and Wyoming? I know that Wyoming is a rectangle, but I just ran into a failure of spatial memory there.
  • The same goes for the Four Corners... who knew it was Nevada instead of Utah that met up with Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, at least in my disordered head?
  • I'm particularly embarrassed by that bit of cauliflower we like to call Alaska. I just had no idea how to draw it when the time came. I also have the Hawaiian islands exactly backwards from left to right in terms of scale and arc.
  • The Nebraska/Kansas flub is particularly unforgivable, since I've been in both states. Nebraska several times.
  • My worst area, though, has to be the Southeast, from the utter misplacement of Arkansas to the squashing of Georgia. (I didn't really forget the Florida panhandle, though -- I just ran out of room and gave up on drawing it.)
I would note that I did particularly well in the area around Minnesota and between here and the East Coast, plus New England, though it's pretty messy (that's what I get for working in ink). My worst areas are generally the places I've never been -- the Southeast and Utah, especially.

DN3.1 did a lot worse in the northeast, particularly, while her Southeast, Alaska, and Hawaii are much better than mine.

A different hand=drawn map of the U.S.
She didn't really mean to say Maine is detached from the lower 48, or that Vermont and New Hampshire are north of central New York. She says it was more an indication that she knew they were between New York and Maine but wasn't sure how they connected.

She wasn't above creatively filling in her problems with a black hole southwest of Georgia. She also completely forgot about Utah (you may sense a familial pattern there).

And neither of us knows what the deal is with Arkansas and Louisiana. For shame.

How did you do?


peppery said...

Awesome! I tried this and screwed up the placement of four states (switched New Hampshire and Vermont in a fit of uncertainty, and had Rhode Island north of Massachusetts) and forgot five, all East Coasters. Which is a shame, since my husband and I did a lot of driving around there. This is of course ignoring all my errors with regards to accuracy of shape. :) I did well on the west and the heartland, especially the south-north route between Texas and Minnesota.

Unemployed Dragon said...

I'm hanging my head in shame...I couldn't even start...and I grew up moving, living in St. Louis and Chicago in the mid-west, yet I could not for the life of me put the states together correctly.

One more thing we should all have to study 20 years after high school...along with the constitution.