Tag Archives: directions

The Directionally Disabled Diva

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.

Why?

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.

milf_thumb

  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?

Or

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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Day Tripping

This week I had to go to a work conference in a hotel/casino about three hours from my house.

While this wouldn’t be an issue for most people, in case you didn’t get the memo, I am not most people. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I was directionally challenged. My mom is convinced I should seek professional help in this area (because yes, mom, THIS is the area I should seek professional help for.)

gnomecar

He never even offered to drive. Not once.

So in my mind, the odds of me getting into the car by myself and successfully navigating my way across the state without ending up in Canada or a ditch are about as likely as me flapping my wings and soaring into the hotel convention center like an angel from above.

However, duty called, so I had no choice.  Don’t worry though. I survived, and because I feel the need to overshare my accomplishment/prove to you that you are normal in comparison, I will let you into a bit of my day.

It actually started the night before when I had to rent a car and spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to turn the windshield wipers off and plug the GPS unit in. Once that was established, I immediately found out the brakes were extremely touchy and managed to squirt breath spray directly into my eye.

Minty mace.

Anyway, the next morning I loaded up the car, set the GPS—my first time ever using a GPS unit— and we hit the road. Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts while on the trip:

  • While I appreciated the GPS lady’s attention to detail, I did not need directions on how to get out of my driveway. However, five minutes after having this thought, I was already lost and she was “recalculating” the route. We were two miles from my house.
  • Once the GPS lady—let’s call her Gail—assured me that we were “recalculated” and on the right highway, I settled in, meaning I obsessively checked the GPS every five seconds to make sure I was to stay on that highway for 75 miles.
  • About 10 minutes in, I remembered that any time I’m on a road trip, I see every sign for every restaurant off every exit and immediately want to eat every second I’m in the car. While I brought food of my own, it never matters. To me, road trips = constantly wanting to eat.
  • With Gail’s permission, I stopped at a rest stop to pee/eat my breakfast and saw a sign on the instant coffee machine that said, “NEVER drink this water. NEVER.” I did not drink the water.
  • Once back on the road, the rest of the drive was uneventful, save for the fact that I forgot people in Detroit drive like maniacal freaks and that 90 mph is the new 70.

gnomecasino2

I snuck away at lunch to let Uncle June see the casino. What I presumed to be a homeless man gave me an odd look. Not sure what that means.

  • While at the conference, the woman next to me was drinking OJ out of an espresso cup with her pinky in the air. I resisted the urge to ask her if she had any Grey Poupon.
  • I was told I had outstanding ideas and was given the “gold star” for the day. There was no actual gold star, which I found disappointing and a bit misleading. However, some time later when they brought the idea back up and drew attention to me again, I was stuffing my face with snacks and unable to answer, so there was that.
  • Needless to say, rock star status achieved.
  • The drive home was rather uneventful as well, as Gail, Uncle June and I had some great conversations about the meaning of life, sang along to Kid Rock/Eminem in the spirit of Detroit and composed a brilliantly funny blog post about our adventures.

Unfortunately, all was forgotten by the time I sat down at my computer, so you get this. If someone could invent a GPS for keeping my thoughts in order, I would totally award them a gold star for the day.

As it is, I’m just glad someone invented GPS in general, or else I might still be circling the parking ramp of the hotel/casino, half blinded by peppermint breath spray and singing “Bawitdaba”  at the top of my lungs in an effort to drown out Gail’s “recalculating” taunts.

OK. That might have happened anyway, but at least I made it home.

Gold star, indeed.

My Internal GPS is MIA

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.

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.

In my world, local highways are not labeled by specific names—1-96, I94—but are instead known as the “mall highway,” “Harvest Health highway,” “work road” etc. Sometimes people that don’t know me very well will ask me for directions and in turn get a series of landmarks and things like, “Turn left at the gas station that has my favorite gum that everyone else stopped carrying” as a response.

Not many people ask me for directions after that first time, but I actually feel much worse for people trying to give me directions somewhere.

Here’s how a typical conversation with me generally goes:

Other person: Go east on that road about five miles.

Me: Is east left or right? 

or

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 I really don’t get lost that often, as I end up figuring out my own system—and don’t generally travel alone if it’s outside that 20 mile radius from my house. If I’m traveling with someone who expects me to be a dependable co-pilot, they soon learn the error of assumption (and which gas station has my favorite gum that everyone else stopped carrying.)

I’ve tried to fix this little issue, but my internal GPS is completely MIA. However, instead of lamenting this directional deficiency of mine, I’ve embraced it.

I’ve accepted the fact that I might not always know where I’m going—either in my car, on foot or in life—and that it’s OK to stop and ask for directions, even if those directions don’t help me out that much at the time.

Even if I take a few wrong turns and feel a bit lost, I take a small amount of comfort in knowing that I seem to find my way eventually.

Just don’t ask me how I plan to get there.

I’m still figuring that out myself.