Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Typos Clarity and Verification

I am somewhat obsessed with clarity in life. I do not like ambiguity. In the same breath I can tell you that sometimes I confuse people and occasionally seem to send mixed signals.

When it comes to directions, however, I am usually clear and I expect (or hope for) geographic clarity. I also usually verify directions with a map. Usually.

Washington DC is a confusing place until you understand how the streets are laid out. I've lived around here long enough to have a clue but that doesn't always help. And one letter difference in an address makes plenty of difference in where you're going and how you get there. Directions I received for a meeting in DC this morning said 3rd Street SE. That seemed odd because most government buildings are SW. And this time I did not verify; I merely looked up the address I was given and located the nearest Metro Rail stop. It seemed odd that this building would be in a residential neighborhood near a school but I've seen stranger things.

I also build in plenty of extra time when I go to morning meetings anywhere around here because traffic sucks. I laughed at myself as I got off the Metro 25 minutes early for my meeting... until I arrived at the block where I was directed. It was a neighborhood park. Geez. I then checked the website for where I was going (like I should have done in advance) and realized it was the same street but SW instead of SE. There was a typo in the original directions.

Fortunately I know the area enough to know I was only one Metro stop from where I was supposed to be. All the extra time I allowed was a blessing because despite the mistakes I arrived at my meeting on time. Exactly on time.

Moral of the story: verify.

No comments: