If I had to identify one of the most outstanding characteristics of my personality, it would unfortunately have to be my Stunning Inability To Locate Myself In Time And Space. I get lost all the time, so often in fact that there now exists a Greatest Hits Collection of my best “getting lost” stories:
-the time I got lost leading a group of friends who were helping us move into our new house
-the time in grad school when I got lost on The Loop in Athens, GA-it was a LOOP for crying out loud, with a FIXED NUMBER of places you could go. Eventually I HAD to find something that looked familiar-and called my husband (then boyfriend) who was in grad school in Atlanta to announce that, “It’s pitch black and I have no idea where I am. Oh and by the way, I’m completely out of gas and am running on fumes. And even if you wanted to come and rescue me you couldn’t, because there’s no way to tell you how to find me. Tell my parents I love them.”
-the time I was driving down Interstate 85, headed to the same place I’d gone every single Monday night for an entire year, missed my exit, got off the highway, turned around, and headed back in the opposite direction (because, HELLO, that’s supposed to work!), somehow ended up on an entirely different Interstate and had to call my husband to guide me home so I didn’t accidentally end up in Alabama.
-the time I was in Phoenix and had to physically drive to the airport in order to change my ticket so I could fly home early. But I didn’t actually know how to get to the airport from my hotel, even though I had driven that route only 4 days earlier, so I called my husband and asked him to guide me there. (I don’t think he minded that much, because it did give him an excuse to fire up Google Earth). Then I had to drive back to my hotel, the exact same way that I had just come only minutes earlier. But I got lost again and had to have him reverse all the directions for me verbally in order to make it back safely.
I truly am one of those people who needs to wear an ID bracelet at all times. But instead of having a medical alert mine would need to say, “While extremely proficient in exploring the realms of the mind, wearer is completely incapable of navigating herself around the physical world.”
My husband, of course, does not have this problem at all. As a matter of fact, he is so good at orienting himself in the physical realm of time and space that he would routinely call me up when we were in grad school to tell me about the trips he was taking with the outdoors club where they would drop everyone off in the North Georgia wilderness armed only with a topographical map of the area, a compass, and a knife, and tell them, “OK, meet back here tomorrow at this big, completely unidentifiable pile of rocks at the time when the sun causes the shadows to kind of look like the shape of a bird, or maybe more like a boat, over here on this equally unidentifiable patch of grass.” And he would.
It’s fortunate for him that he had this early training, because he actually got to put it to use a few months ago when he was on a business trip to El Paso, attending a meeting in Mexico.
He hadn’t brought much information with him, because he just planned to buy a map of Juarez in El Paso and then find his way around from there. Unfortunately there was not a single map of Juarez to be had anywhere in El Paso.
But at the moment when many others would’ve given up (“Hi, boss. You know that business you sent me down here to conduct for you? Well, unfortunately I’m not gonna be able to do it. Yeah, um, Mexico’s closed.”) he remained undaunted.
“Yeah, I couldn’t find a map,” he said. “But I had already been tracking the location of the plant on Google Earth (Um, WHAT?!) so I knew where it was. So I just went back to my hotel, downloaded the satellite images, used them to draw myself a paper map, counted the number of streets and landmarks like large buildings, and then traced my way back from the plant to the border.”
Oh, sure. That was gonna be my next suggestion.
Mary (Mert) says
Oh my, were we separated at birth- dear kindred spirit? LOL! You are describing me to a T!
Here’s mine: My beloved MIL flew from TX to MD to see my hubby and I married. Having lived in MD pretty much much my whole life, but still not having a driver’s license at the age of 19… I kind of knew my way around by landmarks and never really paid attention to streets, routes, ect.
We were trying to get from our Naval station (Bethesda) to Annapolis MD, and for 40 minutes straight I had us lost. How humiliating! I am surprised that my MIL didn’t try to make my husband call it off, she was so mad at me.
Also: Once when living in Oakland California, I got lost walking home from my night shift at the local hospital. I had been walking home that way for several months. Finally, when sufficiently alarmed because I was progressing into a bad part of town, I gave up and called a cab. it was the longest 10 minutes of my life, waiting for that cab to come.
My husband can pretty much just go on sense of direction if we are a little lost, and gets us back on track. Not me.
I am now convinced we are twins separated at birth. I call dibs on being the evil one.
I get lost everywhere, including my online games. I played Everquest for 4 years, and at the end could STILL get lost in my character’s home city. When we made the move to WoW, one of our friends joined us after we’d been playing for a while and I told him to follow me…so he announces to everyone… “We’re following Aila? We’re all going to die now!”
I get lost everywhere as well. I seem to have no sense of direction. Often I use things in my enviroment to help me navigate, but when those things change I am lost again. Never use such things as ‘turn right at the construction site’ becuase eventually construction ends. The one story that comes to mind is when I was going to university and trying to figure out ways to get home that were not as long as the only way I could remember. My mother told me of a way that led to a main street I could follow all the way out of the city. I thought this was brilliant and easy to remember. Unfortunately I get rather turned around on campus and so when I made it to the first main road I could not decide which way to go. Going on instinct I turned right, feeling that this must lead me south. It led me north, over a one way bridge and into the north end of the city. I had no idea where the south leading bridge was and apparently had no idea where south was anyway. I ask a fruit seller on the side of the road and he gave me convoluted directions to the bridge. Which I could not follow but after driving for awhile in the direction he suggested I did find the bridge, or at least found a similar one.
The fact I get lost so often does not surprise me. I lose objects as well, like my car. Ever try looking for a white car in a five story parking lot?
Thankfully I’m not one of those people who gets lost all the time. Once I’ve been somewhere I rarely have too much trouble finding it again and I study maps before going somewhere new getting an idea of the terrain! My second day on a holiday to Dallas I dropped my friend at work and took her car exploring for the day…I have to say driving in the States is just SO easy compared to over here, the road names are clearly marked etc…over here about every 5th road is marked…and it’s not clear!!
I’m glad to find out there are more of us that are directionally-challenged than I thought…. I was afraid I was alone in the world! My “bestest” getting lost tale: we were living in Thomson (near Augusta) and had been living there a few months. I had figured out the main road route to the craft store from my house, but on this particular day I decided to try the back roads coming home. I had three preschoolers in the car with me (one just a baby). I got so turned around I didn’t know where I was… and I’d made a few turns I thought were right, so I couldn’t just turn around and go the way I’d come. I knew I would never remember where I had turned! So… I kept driving until I found a main road that told me where MY town was… of course, by this time I was in Harlem… about twenty miles away, the children were cranky, it was dark, and I was hoping I had enough gas to get home!
I AM getting better, though… so there is hope 🙂
Hee, had no idea what a “can of worms” I was opening here. Although, so glad that I’m not alone in this 😀