Monday, February 26, 2007

The Fable of the Metaphysically-Challenged Street

Once upon a time there was a street called

When it was born, Filbert's Designer had said to the gathered San Francisco media, puffing his chest out and pulling at his coat-straps:
"Filbert Street is going to be my greatest creation! It will fulfill my long-held desire to create a street that runs from Here to There!"
"What do you mean, runs from 'Here' to 'There'?" cried Filbert from beneath its concrete and asphalt surface. "How can I be both 'Here' and 'There' at once? I am 'Here', that is obvious - but where is this 'There' that I am supposed to get to? It is so difficult!"
"Perhaps you may ask," asked the Designer, rhetorically, "How will this street get There?"
"Yes!" cried Filbert. "How?"
"I say it will get There by starting Here and going until it reaches There!" the Designer said.
"But how will I get There if I don't know where There is?" asked Filbert. "I may very well end up 'Somewhere Else' - or even 'Anywhere Else But There' - I'm just a little street! It could be a disaster!"
"It's easy if you think about it," continued the Designer. "It will just go on until its Almost There, and then soon enough, it will have got There."
"I'm not going Anywhere at the moment," replied Filbert Street, miserably, "Except Mad. I am certainly going Mad. And I don't have to do anything but stay here to go Mad."


Finally, Filbert Street was finished and it started off on its quest from Here to There.
It started Here, went to Just A Little Bit Over, continued on to Where Am I Again, and stopped at Not Quite There Yet.
"Ah," said Filbert Street to itself. "This has to be Almost There. Now all I have to do is continue in this direction until I reach There. Simple!"
Unfortunately, Filbert Street at this point seemed to take a wrong turn, because instead of ending up There, it found itself in Some Other Place.
Desperately, Filbert asked a passing lane if it had a street map so it could know where it was going.
"Oh no!" cried the Lane. "They won't draw the map up until we all get where we're going! Anyway, just passing through, friend! Toodles!"
"Then I am Lost!" cried Filbert Street, mournfully to itself. And lost it was indeed.
Filbert never found its way to There from Some Other Place. When informed that his street had lost its way, Filbert's designer wept for three days and three nights, and died: a desolate and broken man.


Forever afterwards, people who wanted to get There (wherever There was) would set off down Filbert, the metaphysically-challenged street, with great determination. They would stride lustily along Filbert's concrete paths, stopping occasionally to gaze in the occasional bookstore window. Inevitably, they would end up in a part of the city that no-one had ever been to before.
At this point, the traveller may or may not have stopped, and inquired of a local How To Get There: the local would never know for sure.
As a result, all sorts of strange people found themselves on Filbert's welcoming asphalt surface:

- People Who Wanted To Get There But Were Easily Distracted (so that by the time they got wherever Filbert Street ended up they thought that that was where they wanted to get to)

- People Who Just Wanted To Get Away From Here

- Teenagers Who Wanted A Direction In Life (although they didn't care where that direction was, really)

- Experts in the theory of Quantum Mapmaking, and Mapmaking in Five Dimensions (who found a spectacular justification for their theories on Filbert)

- Councillors and Religious Figures who Were Concerned That Filbert Street Didn't Have A Proper Aim in Life (although they were at a loss as to how to give it one)

And of course, anybody who was lost and wanted to get back Here would sometimes find themselves on Filbert - who was originally designed to be a two-way street, after all.

Filbert became a very popular street, covered with bright cafeterias and bookshops, and festooned with gay banners (in both senses of the word). Lovers who (for whatever purposes lovers have) wanted to get There would often mistakenly find their way on to Filbert Street, causing the ladies to clap their hands together and cry, "Oh! How romantic!" and the gentlemen to shuffle their feet and mutter something in agreement.
Many shopkeepers wanted to keep their shops on Filbert as a consequence.

Filbert Street never did get There, but just incidentally, it was very happy.


Later, planners came along and built an overpass over Filbert and an underpass over Filbert Street and under the overpass. Both the streets got 'There' very efficiently indeed. Unfortunately, their designers neglected to start them from Here, which caused no end of traffic confusion. This gave hours of mirth to all the users of Filbert Street, as they drank their martinis and held hands in their journey from Here to Some Other Place, admiring the glories of modern street design.

And Filbert Street didn't mind much, either.

UPDATE! - I'm trying to figure out a moral for this story. "Rather be here and drink a beer than be there and be square?" Hmmm ...

Somebody give me a moral for this story. Anything! I mean, even 'Be nice to children', or something. Please!


Deadman said...

The moral is, When in San Francisco, why bother with a street that doesn't know where it wants to go when you can hang out at Fillmore - Bush???

Anonymous said...

Well, the obvious response is
"The journey is more important than the destination".
No? Too trite?
OK, then how about "Never stop and ask for directions - it will only make you unhappy".


Maria said...

Considering the poor version of the televised series of "Dilbert" compared to the comic strip, does this have any relation to "F*** Dilbert"???

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