Lost in Boulder, Colorado
I grew up a neighborhood kid. If I saw different parts of Boulder it was because of the indeterminable car-rides with my parents.
When I was a boy of about 7 or 8, I got permission from my dad to ride my bike to the bookstore about 10 blocks away.
I had lied–my intention was to ride out to the big bookstore at least 40 blocks away.
I got lost.
I rode past the Trident, a book store I’d already tapped out of their best options.
About 1/3 of the way there was the old army-surplus store my dad took me to several times. I remembered that there was a map of the town on display in the store, so I went in there to get my bearings. Total failure: it was a tourist map (none of the landmarks I needed where on the map).
I kept riding, further than I’d ever ridden before
This was a scary adventure, because I had no idea how far away that bookstore was! Moreover, while I knew what it looked like and what was around it, I didn’t have a map of the intervening space. Being driven by my parents, the automobile had allowed me to have two independent domains that I knew had to be linked, but I didn’t know how.
That day my domain expanded dramatically by using systems. I knew my home was at the foot of the mountain (and the sun set behind that mountain), and the streets of the city were nearly all cardinally aligned. My whole sense of “city” emerged. Nodes became connected by grids. I noticed the street numbering system (east to west) and the street names (north to south). I still thought I could influence traffic lights with the powers of my mind, but I did know where I was.