8.25.2009

The One About Directions

I know my limitations. That is one of my most glorious traits. In my opinion, that is. I remember being taught how to fold a road map properly in Ms. Hilton's geography class. I still have issues with it. I did perform adequately for the class and read the maps necessary to pass. I did receive an A. (I also tucked away the knowledge that Ms. Hilton cut her own hair. She offered this information to the class. I wonder if she still does.) There were other classes I took in which I had to read maps. Well, now that I think of it, a map was drawn and I had to fill it in. So, yes I was "reading" a map, but not so much reading it as a means of getting somewhere. And that is where I am limited.

Maps and I don't always get along. My husband sites an occasion when we were in Williamsburg, VA and I couldn't tell him by looking at the map whether to turn left or right. Now, I have no memory of this. Sure, I remember going to Williamsburg. I even remember what I had to eat that night. But this whole map reading incident is a little hazy.

However, I do know that my less-than-stellar abilities with a road map is the only reason I don't try to participate in The Amazing Race. Don't go on that show unless you can rock a road map. See, I know my limitations. My poor map-reading skills would be an endless source of stress throughout the entire race. (You also shouldn't go on that show unless you are proficient driving a standard transmission vehicle. For crying out loud stupid contestants, you'll be traveling overseas. Automatic vehicles are not automatically issued you morons.)

I think maps are too much like the stereotypical male regarding directions. A map, and most (not all) men I know give directions in terms of north and south. Ridiculous. Tell me something I can use. Tell me to turn by the white fence or take a left across from the pink elephant. Give me facts. Landmarks. That's what I need. A road name and number is nice too.

Because I'm not so great with directions, I make it a point to look around me when I park in a strange city and have to walk some distance to where I'm going. I can't be the only person who has slightly forgotten where the car is parked. I try to combat it by noticing landmarks or even writing it down.

I have gotten lost when driving, and walking, but not majorly so. I usually point in the correct direction. A recent study has proven that when people are lost in a situation with few landmarks, they will walk in a circle without even realizing it. The were hooked up to a GPS and let loose in a dense forest and in the desert. Seems when the sun or moon were not visible, they started to walk in circles. This debunked the theory that lost people walk in circles because one leg is shorter than the other. That excuse never crossed my mind.

I will forget how to get to a place. But remember how to leave from it. Re-reading that sentence even I have barely understood myself. I recall directions backwards. Which is probably why the landmark and specific road system is what works best for me. I don't have one leg shorter than the other (but one foot is smaller than the other). And I will admit when I'm lost. Just remember to make me the driver. You navigate. It will work out better that way I promise.