Street Routes -Jeanie Richards

There were two ways I could get to school:

1. Walk past about 10 houses to Harding Street corner, turn left, past Barry the butcher, the greengrocers; Con and Maria, the blue-fronted shop which was always closed, continue straight down for a block till you hit Nicholson St.  Turn left, walk 10 feet, wait at the lights, cross Nicholson St, turn right, walk 5 feet, cross Little Harding St (that led to the Merri Creek and swing bridge) and walk another 20 feet to the school gate.

2. Cross the street, walk about 10 houses to the corner, cross Harding Street there, avoiding having to smile at Barry or wave to Maria,  turn left, walk past 3 houses to Huntington Grove. Cross the road, turn right, past the first house then turn left into the lane that took you straight down to the lights opposite the school gate.   

I timed the routes and counted the steps of each alternative. The straight-way versus the laneway, the lane won, less steps, less time, less risk.  I always chose the route providing maximum avoidance.   Most people took a far more direct route, the “right-angled approach” I called it.  Take a 90-degree turn, walk to the end of the street, take another 90-degree turn, continue on to the next corner and so on.  March, turn, march turn, march, they were all conformists.  They followed the straightest path, always on the same side of the road, always as expected.  

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