Update: High-Context Context

The experience of actually implementing my high-context friend’s navigation program fully validated my understanding that parsing context is what’s hard, nevermind the simple linear stuff like math. Google Maps definitely knew the street and the place on it indicated by the factoid of the formal, postal address. I probably would have been OK, eventually, if that’s all I’d had.

But Santa Fe is a high-context place — I had forgotten how much! — and my friend’s idiosyncratic instructions were **plenty** useful in finding her front door and making my way inside the house. It was much more useful to know that the bell on the post marked the stairs to her porch than to know the house number, since no one seems to have gone to the trouble of posting that number on the actual house anywhere, and certainly nowhere visible from the winding driveway that qualifies as a street here.

With the fiddly detail my friend distractedly sent, layered onto my own prior structural understanding of the town’s layout, I was able to roll up to the right door on the first try. I did have to hunt around for the “Cowgirl Parking Only” sign that she’d told me to watch for, but I’m still calling it a substantial victory of clarity versus wildly overgrown detail.