I have a confession to make.
It’s not a bad, terrible, skeletons in the closet kind of confession. After all, this is not that kind of blog. But if you’re going to be reading here, this is something you should know about me.
I am directionally challenged.
This is not a well known or well established mental disorder. In fact, I may be the only human to suffer from such a thing but suffer I do. As does anyone who is along for the ride.
Let me elaborate.
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where thanks to the resolute planning of the founders of that little town, everything streetwise is laid out in a very predictable, very organized grid. The originating coordinates in the downtown streets start at ‘0’ and count upwards and outwards from there. So, when you have a street address of 4646 South 3500 East, well, you can pinpoint on the grid exactly where that is and make logical sense of which way to drive to get there. Add to that the fact that surrounding the SLC valley there are mountain ranges, and any Salt Laker worth her salt knows that Mt. Olympus sits at the East of the valley offering a constant reference and resource for which way is what way.
This is not to say that I cannot get lost in Salt Lake City, because as I have previously divulged, I have a little directional problem. It’s a bit like dyslexia of roads. I have no sense of where I am going or where I have been when it comes to navigating streets. Seriously. There is no internal compass in my brain. I am always and forever lost whilst driving.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I can be taught and as we’ve traveled from city to city over the years, I have managed to ultimately triumph over the maze of streets and figure out how to get around. Not always well, mind you, but I can get it done.
The last 4 years of living in The Netherlands has helped me kind of forget this embarrassment. Relying chiefly on public transport or my bicycle (which means ALWAYS taking the scenic route) I haven’t had to opportunity to befuddle or confound myself in all that time.
But no more.
I am now doing my darnedest in the Midwest, where the town is NOT laid out in a predictable grid and there is no orienting mountain range to ground my equilibrium. And by doing my darnedest I mean to say I am constantly lost.
To illustrate this point I give you a sampling of Andrewisms from the backseat as we drive.
“Oh, Mom! What are you doing?”
“You goofed! You goofed! Oh, mom, you goofed”
“Are we turning around AGAIN?”
“Oh, man… this always happens”
At this point you are likely thinking, “why doesn’t the girl just get a GPS system for her navigational needs?”. And I answer your internal query and tell you: “I have one”.
Last week I was using said system to drive to a neighboring city to do a bit of shopping. I had an address and a general notion of how to follow the map on the screen. What I didn’t have was the ability to read the map, drive the roads and watch for speed traps. So, for all my effort to get to my destination without turning around a bazillion times, I got a ticket. When the officer handed me my citation I thanked him graciously (that IS what you do, right?) and then told him “I’m not from here, you know… I’m just trying to find my way…”
He replied “It’s all good. Just slow down”.
Sage advice, really, for the girl who just doesn’t know where she’s going.