Twice in my life (about 15 years apart) I’ve lived within an hour of Boston; and a couple of years ago I got to show the Tailor around my old stomping grounds. The city’s undergone a lot of transformations in recent years (Big Dig, I’m looking at you), but I love that the trip in on the T has hardly changed at all.
As we approached the city, I glanced at the system map to decide where to go first. As I read, the name of each stop triggered a flood of memories and images, all arranged by the cardinal directions, rather than by the years. This is probably why I love maps so much. Not only do they describe and organize a particular place—they also catalogue my entire relationship to that place. For unfamiliar cities, I love watching my mental map grow from a blank slate to a rough sketch and beyond. For places like Boston, the grid in my head is chock-a-block with minute, accurate (though sometimes obsolete) details, annotated pictures and pinned moments in time.
How about you? Do you have a place where your memories unfold like a treasure map? Or somewhere you know so well that every subway stop tells a personal story?