Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Girl Directions

When I leave a restaurant bathroom I always turn in the wrong direction. I’ll admit it—I’m directionally impaired.

Getting lost has plagued me since childhood. I remember being on an expressway and thinking my dad was brilliant to navigate the roads. I thought that every time you came to a new overhead sign you had to make a decision on which way to go. Didn’t realize you simply stayed on the expressway until you were ready to exit. Duh.

Three years ago I moved to a new city and was trying to find my way to a writers’ meeting. I was so excited—I’d left a wonderful critique group in Georgia and was hoping to replicate the group here. I consulted a map, feeling like a grown-up as I tracked the route.

All went well—until the last road. It wasn’t there. I drove a half-mile past where it should have been before I gave up and turned around. Then I backtracked a mile. The road simply wasn’t there.

I consulted my map. There it was, big as life. So I tried again. But again, no road by that name or any other appeared where it should have been located. So I tried again. (I know, the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. Have you met me?)

This time I noticed a very short gap in the commercial buildings lining the road and a miniature wall off to the side. I was on a bridge? The map hadn’t showed a bridge!

By the time I got to the meeting, 20 minutes late, I was babbling and a bit wild-eyed. Recently one of the guys mentioned that day, laughing: “I thought you were either crazy or just cute.” He still hasn’t told me his final decision—which, now that I think about it, probably tells me his final decision.

I finally bought my husband a GPS which lives in my car and which he doesn’t have a clue how to use. Without the GPS, I need girl directions. Don’t mention compass points, mileage, or bank names. Tell me to turn left at the dead-end, go straight until you pass the big school on the right, then at the next light, where there’s a gas station/car wash, turn right, etc. I will fill up a page with handwritten directions and I will get there. Someday.