A B C, easy as 1 2 3

guilbert house on A street, davis

Drew this one a couple of weeks ago and forgot to post.  This is a typical scene in Davis. Guilbert House on A Street. And that is ‘A’ Street, not ‘a street’. These imaginitively titled streets so many American towns have; seriously, all those A, B, C, D, etc, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd…come on, they could be anywhere, let’s have some soul, something with spirit of place. They are just points on a grid, and look bad on street signs. A, B, C, they feel like placeholders rather than names, as though the town planners when dreaming up their grids thought, we’ll come back to those. Well, A follows B, etc so surely that makes it easier to find yourself if lost? Except in Davis, between A and B is ‘University St’, so that doesn’t work. Ok, so keep the alphabet, well how about we rename (as some cities do, such as San Francisco) those streets so they run alphabetically? And we could have them themed with things relevant to Davis, a college town, they could be named after subjects taught there, so we’d have Applied Math St, Biophysics St, Chemistry St, Drama St, Electrical Engineering St… If you’d rather see the letters remain, and I don’t doubt people are very attached to their lettered streets, then we could make it more academic, so you’d have A+ St, A St, A- St, B+ St, until you get F St, which is just before U St. You don’t want to live on U St.

Then we have the First, Second, Third Streets, well they sound remarkably like grades you get at British universities, so we could Americanize them a little and have them on a US scale of four, so First St would be 4.0 St, then 3.9 St, etc etc. Alternatively, name them after Amendments to the US Constitiution, so First St becomes ‘Free Speech St’, then ‘Bear Arms St’, then ‘Don’t Quarter Soldiers in Peacetime St’, and so on. Let’s face it, a lot of people would be lost after streets one and two. Imagine telling someone you live on the corner of Film Studies and Revision of Presidential Election Procedures. They’d never come visit.