Saturday, April 25, 2009

Musings from the Directionally Challenged

You know how some people say, "Just go north about forty miles before heading east" when they're giving you directions? I hate that--not because they're detailed, but because I wouldn't know north from Timbuktu in any city unless I had a compass in my car (which I don't!)Give me, "turn left, turn right" I'm okay with that. Don't give me cardinal ordinates! (I think that's what they're called)

Why am I going off on this little rant? Because I am Directionally Challenged. See, I said it. I freely admit this, and still, I make insane decisions to drive places besides work and home. Like Easter weekend. I decided to drive nine hours up to Pittsburgh, PA from Raleigh, NC to visit friends. Could I get there without getting lost? No. This time was better than the last two times I tried it. At least I made it within five miles of their home before I got lost. The last time it took me an hour to find my way back onto the highway --in the right direction-- then I needed step-by-step directions from my friend on the phone to get to their house.

Now, you might say, "Well, you know, Pittsburgh does have some busy highways and wild clover-leaf structures"--Not at three in the morning! I assure you. I learned my lesson watching my friends drive in Pittsburgh when I visit. Don't go on the highway at peak driving times! Not a good Idea!

Besides that, you're talking to a person who got lost in Bakesfield, CA in the 90s when it was still small! There were only two ramps--one going east, one going west--I'd only gone about three miles from the highway--heck I could still see it, I just couldn't navigate my way to it.

All this drama over directions, right? Well, here's the kicker. I received one of those GPS thingamajiggies as a promotional item at an event the weekend after getting lost driving to and FROM (see, I don't do things in half-measures at all) Pittsburgh. And proceeded to accidently delete the maps from it.

What can I say, I'm talented --and not in a good way! Anyway, I made a phone call and was able to get the maps back, but it was a three hour download. I made it through the first hour or so, then got bored. I knew there was a bookstore just down the street, so I thought, "Okay, while this loads, I'll go get the book." No problem, right?


Me, being the "adventurous spirit" that I am decided, "Hey, let me see if this road goes all the way out to the store?"

You're sitting there laughing, I know you are. Either that or shaking your head in dismay. And I would be doing the same. I should have learned my lesson when I first arrived in North Carolina and I ended up 70 miles from Raleigh when heading to the only mall I knew in the area. I should have taken the extra hour-long side trip of my return drive from Pittsburgh as a warning not to check out streeets I do not know.

But I didn't. No, me being the stubburn, directionally challenged git that I am, I decided to see "what if". And....

You guessed it. I got lost. FOR 90 MINUTES! An hour and a half of driving around taking left turns and right turns! (I couldn't even call my friend because I'd left my cell phone at home!) But, I did get my book and I did get home to find the download was complete. And I have vowed never to stray from my home without my GPS.

The good thing about this whole mess--I have another story idea. It involves a directionally challenged woman, her GPS, and a unique set of directions.

Have a great weekend.

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