On the correct apportionment of 5% of the blame...(long)

…for my inability to find a three story lump of stone in the middle of my own city with directions, a map, a bicycle and every assistance barring only a 50ft neon sign with the words “This is the building you’re looking for. Yes, here. On your right. No, your other right. Turn around you silly blind bint.”

So. It’s Monday night. Choir practise night. I’m new to this choir - in fact it’s only the second rehearsal I’ve ever been to. So, I’d like to make a good impression here - for instance, by turning up to practise on time. On time! What a good idea! The fact that there are about eight different rehearsal venues, used in no particular order or pattern, and that rehearsal number 2 is in a building I’ve never been to or heard of before isn’t going to freak me out, is it?

So whose fault, tell me WHOSE FAULT is it that instead of sauntering in to practise ten minutes early, figuing out where the 4th Altos sit in plenty of time, maybe getting a chance to say hi to my fellow choirmeisters I turn up, pissed off and out of breath an hour and a half late, having spent ALL of the intervening time cycling and wandering around the city looking for the venue? Whose Fault, I ask you?

Oh. Mine.


Since, when faced with the task of navigating to an unknown destination a normal, sensible person (hereafter known as Not Me) would perform the following actions:

  1. See unknown address 'Horticultural Hall, 31 Victoria St ’
  2. Look up location in handy street directory.
  3. Travel to correct location.

Rather than, to take a random example,

  1. See unknown address 'Horticultural Hall, 31 Victoria St ’
  2. Think 'Ooh, I know where that is, that’s just around the corner from my work.
  3. Cycle to supposed location (15 mins)
  4. Discover that ‘Victoria Street’ is different to ‘Victoria Parade’.
  5. Cycle to other ‘Victoria Street’ which is fairly close by and may be the one which was referred to (15 mins)
  6. Discover that it’s not.
  7. Cycle home to look up street directory (15 mins)
  8. Discover that ‘Victoria Street’ is actually the same as ‘Victoria Parade’, if you turn right rather than left.
  9. Set off again. Decide not to take street directory with me on the grounds that ‘I’ve looked it up now, it will be easy to find’.
  10. Hit the middle of Victoria Street. Park bicycle, on the grounds that ‘I must be really close here’.
  11. Wander right for a while. See no useable street numbers.
  12. Wander left for a while. See no useable street numbers.
  13. Wander right a little bit further. Finally see the thing. Gah! The door’s locked! Beat head repeatedly on convenient parking meter.
    Well, ok. I’ll admit it. I am geographically challenged. I am the person for whom this thread was created. I am the formulator of the rule “I will always be at least 15 minutes late to everything, even if I take into account the rule that I will always be 15 minutes late to everything”. I couldn’t find Mount Everest if it was sitting on my front doorstep dropping snow on my glasses and my dog was digging up the dessicated corpses of snap-frozen ex-mountaineers.

But dammit! I am not taking 100% percent of the blame for my unscheduled rambling through the streets of the city. At least 5% of the blame belongs to the assorted town planners, mapmakers and other people associated with the layout of my town, who I am now going to rant at for the following crimes against humanity.

  1. You know street numbers? Those are the things that help you find places. So it would be nice if there was ONLY ONE of each street number on every street. Don’t tell me one of them’s 31 Victoria Parade and one of them’s 31 Victoria Street and I ought to be able to tell the difference. Do I look like the sort of person who can tell the difference? I’m looking for bloody Victoria, don’t confuse me with your smartarsed Streets and Parades and Roads and bloody Boulevards. And this isn’t the first time I’ve caught you doing this sort of thing, so be warned.

  2. Speaking of street numbers, from the point of view of somebody wandering along a street going ‘hmmm… I wonder if the numbers are going UP or DOWN’ the following numbering scheme is very far from helpful:

*Unidentified construction site
*Unidentified construction site
*23 Victoria Street (ooh! now I wonder if the next one’s going to be a 21 or a 25?)
*Unidentified construction site (bugger)
*9 SomeOther Street.
*366 YetAnotherStreetWhichIsntVictoria
*21 (streetname? streetname? I must be going the wrong way. Turns round. Tromps to where Victoria Street becomes Victoria Parade again. Nope, looks like I wasn’t)
*Unidentified construction site (I’m getting used to this)
*Unidentified petrol station
*31 Victoria St! At Fucking Last!

  1. Every street sign in the central business district has handy little numbers on the bottom of it saying exactly which range of street numbers exists in the next block. Oh, sorry, did I say EVERY street sign? My mistake. There appears to be one exception. Anyone care to guess what that exception is? That’s right, all the streets which have nice, regular numbering schemes with numbers going up by two get handy signs telling you the information you can easily find out by looking at every shopfront, and the street populated by huge unlabelled Gothic monstrosities and whacking great holes in the ground gets…nothing.

Would it be too much to ask, oh streetplanners of Melbourne, that the roads in the middle of the freaking town might be set out with some semblance of order? With numbering schemes that make sense and don’t change arbitrarily every two kilometers and streetnames that stay where you put them? If you did that then we’d all be happy. I’d be happy because I got where I was going on time and you’d be happy due to not having an incensed houseplant chasing you round the landscape attempting to beat you to death with a ten year old Melways and insert a flattened-due-to-overuse bicycle light battery up your left nostril or any other convenient cavity.

Be warned! I hold you all personally responsible for at least 5% of a cold, annoying, excercise-filled waste of an hour and a half of my life. I’m coming for you! And I WILL FIND YOU!

oh. wait. i probably won’t will i?


Great link for this rant, I must say!

I’d like to say that most of the time I can find things fairly efficiently. That is if street numbers are displayed like they should be.

HELLO! If your address is 69 West Hurlbutt Avenue, howzabout putting that number somewhere on the EXTERIOR of your building!!!

You just don’t want me to find you. That’s it, isn’t it?

9.0 on the rant. Thoughtful, honest, well-written, although the judges felt there could have been a more creative use of profanity, still overall an excellent rant.

especially the part about the incensed houseplant


thanyou, thankyou


It’s so heartening to find that in these modern, cynical, careworn times one can still…

  1. Find an appreciative audience for a rant which contains no reference to the felchworthiness of capricornians

  2. Cunningly disguise references to ones own incompetence in the form of imprecations on some other marginally involved group of people

  3. Construct a list without a single reference to the name of Opa…oh damn.


I’ll be the first to say I could do without the felching of a Capricorn…ian. That would probably ruin my day.


Please, for the love of all that is good in the world, do NOT ever try and locate a place in Astoria, NY. That’s a section of Queens, in NYC. If somebody says they are on 23rd, for instance, they could mean:
23rd Street
23rd Drive
23rd Terrace
23rd Road or
23rd Avenue

All in the same neighborhood, though not quite next to each other. The truly frightening part of it all is that they had 5 different 23rd’s as part of a consistent naming scheme! All the numbered roads have about 3-5 different streets with the same number, going in different directions and in different parts of the neighborhood.

“I’ll be on the corner of 21st and 21st see you at 7!” :smiley: