For one of my writing groups, the next topic is ‘Roadmap’; this has become a very popular word, bandied about all over the place and meaning a plan or strategy for resolving a problem – the most dreadful and complex problem which may have ever faced the global population. Every time I hear the word roadmap, I want to say, ‘don’t you mean map?’ I guess technically a roadmap is just a map or roads and routes, whereas an actual map includes geographical features and maybe other sites as well. However, I think now I’m out of the actual workplace since I escaped the day-job ten years ago, I have lost touch with jargon. Jargon was something which irritated but fascinated me in equal measures, I think this is the age of jargon and buzzwords. I first became aware of it as a management tool (is that jargon in itself) when I heard phrases like blue-sky thinking, running something up the flagpole to see who salutes, and other fanciful phrases. Now our present situation has led to all sorts of ghastly jargon which often serves to blur the actual meaning of something.
Back to roadmaps; I’ve always loved maps and when I was really quite young I was desperate for a globe, and then an atlas and I would pore over it, spending hours looking at the different countries with their interesting names. I was a voracious reader and so had come across many different places through the stories I read. We didn’t have a car until I was about seven or eight and we didn’t often go on long journeys, except to the seaside – but my dad would know the way there anyway. He knew the way because he knew the towns we had to pass through, and would follow the sign posts. I don’t remember us having maps or roadmaps in those early days. later of course, when we travelled further afield, to places we didn’t know then yes, we did need a map, and how wonderful and fascinating they were. It wasn’t just interesting to plan or follow our route, but to see al l the places we passed by – some we had heard of and were excited to know we were passing by them, some had funny or silly names, some were famous for something.
Another thing about me and maps, for some reason, despite my perpetual muddle between left and right, and inability to consistently remember which is which, when i have a map in my hand I am absolutely the best map reader and direction giver. It matters not whether we ate going north or south, east or west,or any direction at all, with a map I will get to our destination, even id we have to take a different route because of roadworks, for example. I can’t explain it, I can just do it.
I think one of the things which made my now husband and I realise we would make a go of our new relationship was probably a week or so after our first visit to a pub together – yes, of course, that was our first date. We were going somewhere and I had the map as he drove and I began to read out the funny and silly names of places we passed, and we both found this so funny, we chuckled for a long time over some of them. In fact when we go on journeys jow, we still chuckle about them, although we are more likely to see them on Satnav!