You probably don't know this, but map companies like Thomas Bros. have a secret, and this secret can get you lost.
Every once in a while, we'd get a pick-up at some upscale establishment where Madame left her purse or purchases. One of us would get the tag, which is why I wound up in South Bay, where my route was usually the dump money bag drop. This time it was some address in a high end neighborhood; an area I never frequented and thus was unfamiliar.
The community layout was such that to reach point B, you had to ride around the whole perimeter. But wait, there was a small service street cutting straight through to where I needed to be. Only I couldn't find that service street. I went up and down the area where it should have been, but wasn't.
There was no Diagon Alley type brick wall concealing it, it just wasn't there! Well, time is money so I took the long way around to drop off Milady's purse. Milady don't tip.
Back at the Lightning Express hive, I complained hard to anyone who would listen. I'm not an idiot. I can read a map. In fact, all I have to do is look at a map and I can remember it in my head. That road was just not there!
One of the guys who'd been working there a long time had the answer.
You see, back in the old days before computers and Google Maps, companies like Thomas Brothers were the only game in town. Their cartography was proprietary intellectual property, so in order to protect it, they inserted fake streets here and there.
If the map book you just released has Mumford Drive on it, and Mumford Drive doesn't exist in real life, you just got busted for plagiarism.
However, how annoying is that when you're trying to get someplace in a hurry? Mighty annoying, that's how much! When I read about that map company complaining about the impact online maps have had on their business, I get a tiny chuckle of schadenfreude. That'll teach them to make me feel incompetent at something I'm actually good at! As Nelson from The Simpsons says, “HAW-haw!”
I have always thought that the horn on my BMW was kind of polite. “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon? And could you kindly move aside a bit so that I may pass?” Of course, what you really want to be doing is snarling curses that would make him turn pale, but you can't and you shouldn't, so you must change your horn instead. That little snailshell Flamm came off with no argument, unlike some things I've had to wrench off the bike. I fully expected every kind of problem with the airhorn, a double-horned Flamm with a compressor that I bought probably 15 years ago and never got a Round Tuit to duit. These days, I have an Electrics Guy, a friend of mine who hooks up what needs hooking up. I'm in charge of the electrical tape.
Strangely, he connected everything with absolutely no hassle. It was truly “plug & play,” because when I hit the horn his ears melted instantly. It seemed to me that they ought to have, that thing is incredibly loud. The only problem was finding a Y connector to connect the air hoses to the horns. I found plenty of Ts. I went to aquarium stores, three bike shops, four auto parts shops Ace Hardware and Dixieline. Believe it or not, Nobody had a 1/4” Y connector! There were plenty of T connectors. All you could possibly want. But not one single stinkin Y. I finally had to order one online. Even that was difficult, google kept directing me to places that sell 500 Y connectors with free shipping from Hong Kong.
I don't want to order 500 Y connectors from Hong Kong! (Although, given the lack of Y connectors here, I may have found a niche business.) I didn't really want a brass one, either, but I found Y connector, single, brass for under $5.00.
Do you want to know why I decided to bother with installing this aftermarket horn? Really? Okay, I'll tell you.
It was a fine day in San Francisco, and I was out messenging down Valencia, headed back to the nest. All of a sudden, my lane started getting narrower as the jackass who didn't bother to look first eased on over into my lane. I hit the horn and he veered back, but when I caught him at the traffic light he rolled down his window and said, “YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO HONK AT ME, I DIDN'T SEE YOU!”
Ponder that one for a moment. It raises the question, what exactly did this man think his horn was for? Picking up babes? An aural middle finger?
Well, my brothers and only friends, that is why I now have an airhorn that will make your ears bleed. You may not see me, but you are no way gonna be able to say you didn't hear me!