The map is not the territory

Kevin loves the opera with all his heart.

As a young man growing up on a farm in Latah Country, Idaho, all he had was the radio. He’d work the farm, listen to arias and dream of visiting the world’s great opera houses.

His mother bought him a ticket to La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, New York. Kevin had never been out of Idaho in his life.

After flying in to LaGuardia at nightfall, a bus drops him off outside a hotel on the Lower West Side. It looks more like a tenement than a hotel. He has to pay for his room in cash.

Upstairs he opens his bag and takes out the old tuxedo his uncle had lent him. Sure the room looks like a dump, but he was going to look like a million dollars.

As he gets changed, he can hear people screaming outside. You never heard people screaming in Idaho.

Kevin slips the opera ticket into the inside pocket of the jacket. He has a map with the opera house circled in red. It only looks a few blocks away. Why not walk?

He gives his shoes a final buff before he steps into the hallway and out into the streets. The screaming seems to fade away as he starts to head to the opera house.

After a while he notices the street lights starting to thin. He hears a gun shot.

He checks his map again and looks around. This city is bigger than he thought.

Just then a siren cuts through the night air as a police patrol car rolls to his side. There’s two uniformed police officers inside. One them winds down the window and looks Kevin up and down.

‘Where the fuck do you think you’re going?’ he asks.

‘To the opera,’ Kevin replies.

The police officers look at each other, shaking their heads. One looks back at Kevin.

‘Get the fuck in the car!’

Kevin gets in, and ten minutes later they drop him off outside the Lincoln Centre. They’re gone before he has a chance to thank them.

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