I was walking in my neighborhood the other day when someone pulled over and asked me where a particular street was, which unbeknownst to this hapless soul, made about as much sense as asking Kim Kardashian for acting advice.
Because it’s not only possible, but 111 percent probable that if you dropped me into any area within a 20-mile radius of my house and gave me directions using only North, East, South and West, I would end up somewhere 40 miles away from my house.
A compass is as foreign to me as self-editing and maps are simply pretty pictures with lots of distracting colors that are entirely impossible to a) understand b) look at while driving and c) fold back up.
In other words, I have no sense of direction.
I’ve brought this up before, but was reminded when that guy asked me where that street was and 10 minutes later I realized I sent him in the completely opposite direction. This would be excusable in my warped brain if the street in question wasn’t literally ¼ mile from my own and the subject of a post a couple of years ago.
Someone decided that the “Milford” street sign in my neighborhood had suddenly graduated into something else a little sexier.
I thought maybe this directional disability would get better with time, but alas, it’s almost gotten worse. It’s not that I haven’t made a valiant effort to understand directions–I’m aware that north, east, south and west exist—it’s just that I don’t quite understand where they are in relation to where I am or want to be.
Highways aren’t referenced by specific names like 1-96 or 131, but rather “health food store highway” and “one that takes you to the gas station that has my favorite gum that everyone else stopped carrying. “
And while not many people ask me for directions after that first time, I actually feel much worse for people trying to give me directions somewhere. Here’s how it typically goes:
Other person: Go east on that road about five miles.
Me: Is east left or right?
Other person: Head north on that street.
Me: If we’re standing in my driveway, is that behind me or in front of me?
In my head I see a flat map with north at the top, south at the bottom and the other two things on the sides. How this translates into real life is somewhat more complicated. Until someone paints a big N, E, S or W in the sky, I’m pretty much screwed.
But instead of lamenting the fact that my internal compass is as reliable as a Magic 8 ball, I’ve just accepted the fact that I might not always know where I’m going — on foot or in my life, for that matter — but that it never hurts to ask.
Unless you’re going to ask me where to go.
In that case, you’re pretty much screwed.
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