It’s a level of celebrity so up-to-the-minute I didn’t realise it existed until I accidentally achieved it. What’s even better is that I didn’t need to put the slightest ounce of effort into my climb to fame. Don’t be jealous, ladies and gentlemen, we can’t all be chosen. Some must work hard to get noticed, while some stumble across the limelight without even needing to try… all I had to do was stand on my doorstep, something I’ve been doing with little skill or panache for nigh on two years now. But the camera tracked me down, and now my doorstep-standing technique has been immortalised for all to see in the landscape of London. Yes folks, I am on Google Maps.
Of course the reaction has been enormous – screaming phone calls, hysterical mother, mysterious messages asking “what was in the carrier bag?” – but I won’t let it go to my head. Or the back of my head, as so strikingly featured in the aforementioned photo. After all, nothing brings you back down to earth quicker than realising exactly how the rest of the world sees you. From behind.
And speaking of behinds (mine looks massive but my legs quite skinny, so on balance I probably won’t sue), Google may think they have theirs covered by blurring out everybody’s faces, but this is clearly naive. And something of an insult to the nation’s individuality, and accessorising ability. You’d have to be the dullest of dulloid dressers not to be recognisable to somebody – your own wife, say, going, “By Jove I know that elbow patch!” as you’re walking out of Sauna and Massage, Finsbury Park. Because people know you by your clothes, don’t they? They know you by your hair, by your stance, by that promotional bag you got free at a conference that you insist on using as a briefcase. People will know you by the M&S sandwich you’re consuming.
My flatmate can even identify my footsteps as they walk down the street outside - but I’m inclined to think that’s an extreme brought on by three years of living in each other’s pockets and not really liking many other people. Still, it’s touching.
I’m just thankful the paparazzi mapmakers didn’t catch me doing anything incriminating. Like, not recycling a clearly recyclable carton. Kicking a pigeon. Or a child. Because I’ve discovered that my brand of neon highlighter-pen lightbulb custard lemon-meringue-pie-filling bleached blonde hair is more distinctive than most. “I knew it was you, I knew by the hair!”, they’ve been shrieking. “Really? Not by, maybe, the fact that I’m standing on my own doorstep? Being, quite clearly, me?”. Nope, the hair every time.
What are the chances though? I'm not just using an old cliché, I'd actually quite like to know the statistical probability of being snapped-and-mapped during my 15-second doorstep key search as opposed to all the places I actually spend time.
If Google Maps was to be really representative of the capital's population, I reckon I should have been doing a mad pavement dance behind a particularly slow pensioner. Or methodically turning a copy of Metro into a little paper hat. Or in Boots, Tottenham Court Road, deciding between 500 extra advantage points for a mascara I don't want, or 'buy one get one half price' for two mascaras I don't want.
But no, doorstep. What does it say about me? That I'm a homey person, queen of my castle, happy to be the face (or bottom in this case) of my local community? That my roots need doing and so do the windowboxes?
Or – my plastic carrier bag and laddered tights crucially guarding against the crime fears sparked by the streetmap's unveiling – that I'm clearly a student and, therefore, have nothing worth nicking?