Saturday, October 3, 2009

goes by

'goes by' is a common expression used to denote locational nearness of a moving object as it relates to a fixed object. For example, one might describe the movement of a bus, and claim it 'goes by' a place of interest. This would typically mean that the land of said place of interest abuts the road said bus uses, or even that the place of interest is visible from the traveling bus.

While the definition given above is correct, sadly, as Webster's dictionary doesn't typically include phrases, 'goes by' does not have an official definition, and even if it did Webster was an American, so the definition wouldn't stand internationalization.

In some places of the globe the definition we have given would still stand, but some people are a little more permissive, and they like to broaden the scope of things, so often you'll find that 'goes by' can be substituted with 'is located within a three hundred square mile radius of'.

Imagine for a moment a sad little puppy who has spent the past few weeks living in a closet. In your mind's eye, try and envision the happiness of said puppy when he finds a place to live. Now, picture said puppy going to Ikea to find sheets to put on his bed.

Instead of a puppy, let's say, in a very hypothetical way, a certain man went up to Ikea one night. Or, better said, tried to go up to Ikea one night. If said man were prideful, he might have a hard time asking directions when he reached the tube station nearest Ikea. He might have glanced at a map earlier that day and seen Ikea was a pinky away from the station. And then he might have walked for over two hours, desperately lost in a place called Neasden1. And he might have had to hail a cab to take him back to the station, a sad, broken man. Lastly, in this very hypothetical, not-real-life story, he might have found two dirty towels to put on top of the bed, and slept with his lone jacket as a blanket, shivering the night away due to his uncovered legs.

Even the most prideful of men can see when they've screwed up in a very serious fashion, so the man might have done some serious soul and map searching over the next day, and discovered another route to Ikea, through another station2.

Upon arriving at the station, and recalling the experience from the night before, our hero may have given pause before trying to walk to Ikea again, so he might have asked a station attendant how to get there. Said station attendant might have told him to take bus 112, because it, and I quote, 'goes by' Ikea. I mean, I don't quote. This is hypothetical.

So the hypothetical man would have stood outside the station, waited twenty minutes for the bus, then boarded said bus and rode. And rode. And rode. And at no point would have passed anything resembling a happy Scandanavian vendor. And after twenty minutes, he may have ended up three miles away from Ikea, at the end (yes, the end) of an entirely different and foreign tube line which he had never traveled before. And he might have asked the driver where Ikea might be, and only received shouts in a thick accent, saying, "END OF LINE! END OF LINE!"

That is to say, said bus got as close to Ikea as I have to a cage full of armed screaming monkeys3.

So the next time you're thinking about going to Ikea, a) don't listen to the station attendant, b) take a map, and c) remember, 'goes by' has differing definitions depending on what dimension you live in4.

1. That was the most insulting part of the whole experience. At least let me get lost in a place with a tough name. But Neasden? You might as well get desperately lost in Flandersville.
2. And he might have also discovered that the map Ikea puts on its website sucks more than all of the history of sucking. It deludes you to thinking Ikea is a stone's throw away from the station, when it's actually over a mile. And definitely not accessible following the helpful red dotted line they've drawn.
3. Surely that's the only explanation for some of the noises I heard in my walk through Neasden.
4. I never did find it. I ended up at Asda (the Walmart of the UK) at midnight with the owners of said monkeys.

1 comment:

LRH said...

hey. you just got released as ward clerk:) Congratulations. Now you can sing praises for being callingless.