Sep 4, 2005

maybe not

I have to wonder what I expected.

Google Earth, supposedly a great tool and touted to be loads of fun.

I downloaded the program.

I don't know what I was thinking when I did this. I just can't handle images of Earth as seen from space. I don't even like to look at the atlas. When I see the continents so big and realistic on a page I have to look away. Bas relief maps make me queasy. But then the installation of the program was complete. And there it was. Planet Earth. As seen from space.

I hate that.

It turns out that the start point for any search in Google Earth is way, way the hell out in outer space.

Still, I plugged in my own address, and suddenly (there is no warning, it just starts like all of this is perfectly natural) I was plunging towards Earth. Really fast. The landscape and every object on it becoming sharper as it became closer. As if you have been tossed out of an airplane. Not willingly, with any tutorial or a parachute (or having signed any waivers) but malevolently. With hatred. For the purpose of offing you.

This all happened in what I imagine was real time, that is, the real amount of time it would take a person to fall to the earth. From an airplane. Unwillingly. And land right on top of their building. Quite unnaturally.

And I did. I did land right on top of my building.

I admit, I had covered my eyes with the lattice of my fingers so that I saw only bits and pieces of the action.

And I decided that I didn't like this.

But, seeing as I was already there, I navigated through my neighborhood a little bit. I should mention that I felt very much like a spy as I was doing this. Which, for about a minute, was a good feeling. And not just any spy, but a Russian spy. Or a little bit like someone who works for the FBI. But this good feeling quickly became a creepy feeling.

And I noticed that the top of my building didn't look at all like what I had expected. But there were tell-tale signs that I was in the right place. And I pulled in close enough to see certain cars that I've seen around here. As well, the big mountain of dirt that has always been in the side yard. So, I followed the streets through my usual route to the el. And I stopped my cursor at the coffee place, which I do less and less in real life, and even stopping there with my cursor made me feel a little guilty (why exactly is my day better when I go get coffee?) Then I went to the lake shore, taking horendous short cuts never before taken in real life. I mean, I simply criss-crossed through town, jumping over the Kennedy, because I could. I visited the museum, and stopped for a moment at the building where I went to school. After which, I took mostly side streets. Finally, I followed the express way to my mom's house, which was nearly unidentifiable, as there are many trees where she lives.

And then I went back home. That's when I noticed that one of the buildings that recently went up on my block was not there.

That's when I concluded that these were old satalite images.

For some reason, I thought it was a live, streaming image. I was relieved that this was not the case. It seems more reasonable. Or less disturbing that it isn't a live image.


I'm afraid of this tool.

I think I'm going to get rid of Google Earth. Probably in the morning. Tuesday at the latest.


  1. I'm immediately going to download that.

    I am very frightened, but insanely curious.

  2. Exactly..
    It's hard to look away.

  3. I just cried a little while scrolling over the earth and discovering the shape of Africa. I honestly cried, because it was disconcerting and frightening.

    About to go check out the Grand Canyon.

  4. The size of Africa is daunting. Same goes for South America.

    I hate maps. It's like I'm torturing myself.

  5. i laughed. i wonder if you've uninstalled it.

  6. Well, I got google earth after reading this, and am really annoyed that the brown square that reveals all cuts off about 1/8 of a mile from my house. I am in a green blur zone, but you can make out the haulage trucks at the metal refinery down the road.

    so totally not fair!!