Fifth Book: Stupid America and our Non-Metric System

So, the other week I posted about drawing a map for my as-of-yet untitled (and completely nonexistent—seriously, there’s not even an outline) Fifth Book. At the time, I said, “[M]y urge, right now, is to draw a map. So that, my friends, is what I’m going to do.

Well, I really messed that up.

See, it’s all a question of scale. Every map has one, seen or unseen, and allows its creator to accurately display the scene in regards to structures, roadways, geographic phenomenon, etc. My map had one, and it was relatively simple. The problem? Conversion. Everything I’m drawing, every reference I have, is in feet. You know, since that’s what I was brought up on. But the map is in meters, as that’s what the location is designed around.

My first mistake was not converting everything over to feet right from the start.

Everything would have been so simple if I had. But I didn’t. And somewhere along the way, I also managed to completely screw up the conversion scale not once, not twice, but three different ways. I first noticed it when a house I had drawn with my initial conversion was vastly outsized by a normal car. Thinking this was a fluke and one that could be easily corrected later, I moved on. Only then to find the cars also somehow larger than a semi-truck.

I immediately gave up, stuck the map in a folder, and walked away from the project, as I knew I would only grow angry with myself and angry at the paper for the grueling mistake (there were a lot of cars on that map). Instead, I sat on it, thinking about it over the weekend, and decided to re-do my efforts digitally. After all, I have ample time to do so and digital tools will allow me to rejigger more freely in the off-chance I once again draw a Volkswagen larger than a two car garage. Which surely won’t happen again.