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What’s a “block”?

February 6, 2014

“The library? It’s just three blocks down that way!”

I’ve heard that in American movies and stuff. I had to Google “block”. Turns out there’s this swank system across the pond whereby streets are divided up into more or less equal rectangular chunks known as blocks.

Oh what it is to be a country in its infancy! Would that we had such a system here. You wait. When your civilisation is thousands of years old, you see if it divides neatly into “blocks”. It’ll be more like a misshapen blob with tentacles coming out, where people have added bits and chipped bits away.

Directing people where they want to go will not involve and mention of blocks, or really, mention of anything useful at all. More likely it will be closer to this:

“The library? Yes, you have to climb down that patch of ivy there, vault the abandoned shopping trolley, leapfrog over the nettles and sausage roll through the small gap in the fence. Then you kayak across the flood plains, climb the electric fence, scramble onto the railway and drop down the other side into the back garden with the trampoline, and bounce back out into the adjacent street.

“After that, just take an army crawl stretching 300 yards under the Deathly Green Waft of unknown origin and you’ll come out at the collapsed wheely bin. You’ll be on the right street, but no one quite knows what it’s called because the sign was twice vandalised and the council said ‘Fuck it, we’re not fixing that again. You can just be the one street in England that has no name, that way you can’t be confused with anyone.’

“In any case, you’re looking for the graffitied pile of fossilised dog poo at the end of the cul-de-sac. Left of that is the library, inside the 70-year old sink hole that hasn’t yet been filled in. You’ll recognise it by the doormat over the top that says “Welcome.” It doesn’t work as a doormat though, you’ll have to use the small hedgehog thing next to it instead.”

On second thoughts, keep your blasted blocks. I’ve made some precious memories with that dog poo pile.

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From → British Culture

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