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An homage to the map carpet

We all know the map carpet. Yeah, the one that was in the play area of your kindergarten classroom, or if you were lucky enough, maybe even in your house. A pinnacle of educational play, every five-year old walked away with a deep understanding of transportation networks and zoning policy. So much about a person’s being was revealed by the map carpet – such as how responsible a driver one would be, like if one would even bother with roads or rather forgo them entirely to drive your car straight through a hospital which incidentally just happened to be 2D.

Likewise, as some budding citizens chose to treat the crosswalks as an opportunity to demonstrate civic responsibility, a sizable contingent preferred to think of the map carpet as a precursor to Grand Theft Auto. Memorably, one particularly enterprising classmate chose to really get into construction, managing to wield a pair of scissors and cut off a small corner of the rug before being forcefully stopped by our rather horrified teacher. Ah, bureaucracy.

Yet sometimes a 2D life seems simpler. Imagine (owning!?!?) a lovely house with 1 door and 1 window (oh, the luxury) sandwiched in between two crosswalks right next to everything you could need in life, like healthcare, a school, and a restaurant with an enormous hot dog sign just down the road. Of course, unexplored roads lead off the map in all directions, an airport not much larger than your house is right across the road, and a particularly murderous five-year-old God might drive straight through your house at any time, but in today’s world that seems like a solid tradeoff for the possibility of ever owning a house, and it’s not like our ever-present extreme weather behaves much differently than a petulant five year old. Oh, and there’s no traffic in this idyllic place.

The citizens of the map carpet truly don’t know how good they’ve got it.