By WR Jones
See this one horse, er one truck town? I wouldn’t be able to find my way. Simply too many streets. Well, not so many streets as much as the one street has two possible directions.
I’ve been spatially bereft since birth. I probably found the nurse’s breast by mistake. That part of my brain that should have been devoted to determining where I am in the world was crowded out by a neural structure devoted to whiffledust.
My first memory of being lost was at the age of 5 when we visited relatives in a small Iowa town. I wandered off. As soon as I realized I was lost my lower lip started quivering, tears began to flow, and my nose got runny. Some adult found me and took me to mother. I’ve been using this same technique ever since. I did have a learning curve about whom I could use this particular technique on. Certain people are sympathetic when confronting tears, others just kick your ass for sniveling.
I have many painful memories of the old days with road maps. Long hours looking at maps and street signs. I know I’m on this street but am I going north or south? What does north and south stand for anyway? The top of the map is always north so what is the point of talking about that stuff?
I once spent a week doing some work for the Navy in Washington DC. Flew in from California, picked up a rental car and drove to hotel. They told me I did not have a reservation. I insisted I did as I watched as the reservation was made. They informed me that while I did have the correct hotel name, I was in the wrong town, Oh.
Got to the right town and hotel. Let’s call that point A and we will call the building I was working in for the week, point B. Monday morning, going from point A to point B I got lost. This was to be expected. Tuesday morning from the same point A to the same point B I got lost again. Wednesday was an embarrassing repeat of Monday and Tue. Thursday the same. Now I look like a complete nitwit. Thursday evening a woman flew in from CA to go with me to a meeting on Friday. I told her (I wouldn’t have but expected others to rat me out so wanted to appear to be forthright about my issues) about being lost 4 days in a row going between same two points. I assured her that I had the route locked in my mind now. No worries about getting to meeting. Started out confidently. Eventually my sense of passing time tells me the bad news – there is no living way I’m on the correct route. I stop to ask directions AGAIN – I’m in the wrong state and heading further away from my destination. I have no recollection of getting back to CA. Maybe they boxed me up and mailed me.
Then came the miracle of GPS! I would never be lost again.
Last week I was driving with my wife in Los Angeles. We left a hospital in San Fernando valley to drive to LA. I knew the route like the back of my hand. I was ok until I made that one wrong turn. No problem, I will get off at the next off ramp, get back on in the other direction and retrace my path. As bad luck would have it, there was no on ramp going the other direction. This turn, that turn, nothing. Finally my wife gets fed up and turns on the GPS. Except for the “rerouting” mantra getting back on track was a breeze. Then I shut the GPS off as I knew the rest of the route. And I did, thus I can’t explain how I made that wrong turn. That 50/50 chance stuff is bullshit. I get it wrong 100% of the time. My wife turned on the GPS again and told me if I touched it she would bounce my head off the steering wheel.
I have some struggles typing this post. This computer seems a little different. I hope I’m in the right house.