When walking around Dupont Circle with my supervisor–a former FBI agent–I would sometimes try to shorten the walking distance by cutting across a parking lot or patch of grass. But Lester would have none of that.
“Tsk tsk” he admonished me. “I didn’t know you were that kind of person.”
He clearly wasn’t. After decades in a huge bureaucracy even the thought of cutting corners was unacceptable to the point of being dangerous.
Part of the fun I got from learning the neighborhood was discovering where I might save a few steps–not out of laziness but from a desire to find a tiny way to deal with something that stood between me and my ultimate goal.
Even today I cross a room at night without turning on a light so I can test my memory and resourcefulness.
One of the most memorable sections in Alexander’s wonderful book A Pattern Language was his bit of advice for home builders to wait and put in the pathway linking the sidewalk and front door until after visitors had shown you how they preferred to get from one to the other.
This quirk may even be a personal characteristic of people who are most comfortable using and getting creative with internet apps. if I were a developer I might need to follow established rules and stick to the sidewalk I suppose; but not as a mere user.
Discovering how to get most directly to where I want to go is always my higher priority.
How about you? Do you walk around parking lots and driveways instead of through them or across them?
Think I’ll ask the next kid I interview too.