Wherein I am so lost that, even if I’d had a map, I’d have had no idea how to work it.
Originally published 8/11/2005
One of the things that impresses me the most about my husband is the fact that no matter where we go, even if it’s a place he’s never been to before, it takes him all of about five seconds to figure out exactly where he is, and then, exactly how to get to where he wants to go next. As a matter of fact, if you watch very carefully as we arrive in a new location, you can actually see a 3-D holographic image of the city lift up off of the ground, hover briefly in the air , and then settle right down onto his brain.
My dad and my brother are exactly the same way, so I always know that if I am ever out with any one of these three men I am always OK. (I also know that I don’t actually have to pay attention to pesky little details like street names, street signs, the name of the actual city or country in which we are currently located, etc. because they will take care of all of that for me.) Plus, if the three of them are all together then it is like their navigational powers are amplified, so not only do we get where we’re going more quickly and more efficiently, but we also always have a parking spot waiting for us right by the door.
In contrast, I myself am never entirely sure of where I am in any given moment, and if you ask me how to get from one place to another there’s a very good chance that at least part of my answer is going to involve the phrase “by magic”. My husband has learned in giving me directions to avoid such tricky technical terms as “north” or “east”, and instead to stick to simple instructions like, “turn left by the big chicken”.
Unfortunately, this lack of navigational ability only increases if my mom and I take a trip by ourselves. Last fall she and I drove together to another state to stay with a relative who was ill. Every. Single. Day. we had the exact same conversation: “Do we turn left out of the hotel parking lot, or do we turn right?” Every. Day. Not only did we not have a virtual map in our minds, nor could we remember from one day to the next in which direction we needed to turn, but it also never once occurred to us to write down the correct answer at the moment in which this decision occurred so that we would have that Critically Important Information to refer to the next time we needed it.
This Vortex of Spatial Dislocation only intensified the night that she, I, and another relative had to go to the grocery store by ourselves all by ourselves in this town which was not our own. (And I don’t mean to perpetuate unfortunate gender stereotypes here, but this particular relative was also of the female persuasion.) The three of us got in the car, set off on the very same road ON WHICH WE HAD JUST DRIVEN on our way back from the hospital mere moments earlier, and , you guessed it, turned the wrong way. And it took the three of us AT LEAST ten minutes to recognize this fact.
The good news is that we all did survive this trip and somehow managed to get back home, and I discovered that if I really, really HAVE to I can reach down and tap into hitherto undiscovered navigational abilities. But if it has to come to that, be warned: we will definitely be taking the scenic (read: WRONG) route.