Travelling by subway sometimes feels like a giant whack-a-mole game, where I'm the mole. I've been going to various locations, some of them for years, with no real understanding of where they were in relation to one another. Periodically I'd consider looking at a map, but that would have first involved buying a map (or yes, looking at Google Earth or some such), and since there was never a pressing need, it never happened.
Then serendipity intervened. First Bill and I saw a play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (a tepid production of The Tempest, let's leave it at that), and since the directions provided by the theatre used a clocktower as a landmark, I took special note of it.
The following day I was modeling for a class at Pratt and realized that I could see the same clocktower from the fourth floor window. It was a gorgeous day, I had no place to be after work, so I decided to walk towards the tower to see how long it took to get there. This little jaunt was fun for its own sake, but it also meant I connected at least five different important-to-me places above ground. By subway each location requires a different line, usually with a transfer or two, but now that I can connect them above ground, suddenly I have a variety of ways to get to each one. As long as I don't mind walking (and I rarely do, if the schedule permits) I never need be frustrated by closed subway lines or trackwork again. Options, I've got all kinds of options. I can't tell you how freeing that is. Let's not waste a lot of time wondering why it took me so long.
Of course the real benefit is rediscovering how beautiful Brooklyn can be. I loved living there; a move may be in my future.