I suck at directions. Geography-type things in general, really.
I’ve lived in the town I live in for 28 of the 31 years that I have been on this earth. Yet if you asked me for directions to Walmart, I’d falter. I’m that bad.
Road names? Don’t remember them.
Highway/Interstate numbers? Get them confused.
Put a map in front of me and guess what? My navigational skills don’t suddenly improve. Instead, I act like I’m reading something in a different language. Looking at a map for more than three seconds makes my brain Hulk out.
I first realized how bad I am at this stuff when I was a high school freshman in JROTC. We were doing something with maps, and I was struggling.
“E, I can’t believe someone as smart as you is this bad at [map stuff],” the sergeant told me. I took it as a compliment since he called me smart.
And then I started driving. That’s when shit got real.
“Oh, let me just hit up Mapquest and get directions to the mall from my house. No problem!”
Yeah, problem. A 45-minute drive turned into a 2.5 hour drive that included an accidental Interstate.
Then that time I had to drive home from the beach when I was 18.
“You know how to get home, right?” my dad asked. It should’ve been a safe assumption, considering I had driven to and from the beach a few times with him telling me where to turn. But, no. He had to write out directions, which I still messed up. And this was in the time before Everyone Had Cell Phones and he didn’t have one. Not fun.
My husband finally figured out the answer to my problems one Christmas–a GPS!
You see, I was about 7 months pregnant with Little Man. And I didn’t know how to get to the hospital that was 20 minutes away (in my defense, it was in another town and state). Since he was concerned about me going into labor while he was at work, he figured I should probably know how to get to the hospital, so he got me the GPS.
He was pleased with himself until I called him at work crying when I was around 8 months pregnant because I was lost in the town that we lived in.
“Did you use the GPS?”
“Yes!” I said between my dry heaving. “It told me to turn at a median! There was no road!”
So there went the GPS idea. Fortunately, Little Man hung out for almost two weeks past his due date and an induction was scheduled, so no randomly going into labor and having to drive myself anywhere.
My husband finally figured out a way for me to get from point A to B without a) having to drive me or b) me getting utterly lost in the progress: writing out the most detailed directions in the world. You think the instructions for that bookshelf you had to put together were long? You haven’t seen my driving instructions.
So, the first 10 times I drove myself to the doctor, I’d whip out my handy instructions, which was basically a page of chicken scratch that included gems such as:
- Turn at the road with the water tower.
- Make a left on the road with the junky yard.
- Go past the church sign and turn right.
This did the trick! The phone calls I made to him on my 25-minute trip went from 4 to 1 and sometimes 0.
Fortunately for my husband, I no longer need his chicken scratch directions now that I have figured out how to use Google Maps on my iPhone, which is super accurate. As long as my signal doesn’t drop, I’m gold. I’ll connect the thing to my Bluetooth speaker, crank the sound up, and Siri tells me what’s up.
Like I said, not only do I suck at directions, but geography in general. I just do not know where things are. (I’m lucky as hell that the SATs didn’t have a geography component; otherwise, the sweet little score would have plummeted.) And sometimes I don’t even know (remember) that certain places exist.
Like Delaware. Up until a few months ago, I had completely forgotten that was a state. We were doing this geography quiz on Facebook and I was trying to put the D states down.
“Delaware!” my husband said trying to help.
“Is that even a state?”
“That’s hilarious.” He notices the non-joking look on my face. “Wait. You were serious?”
Stuff like that. And then we were looking at a map one night a few weeks ago (don’t even ask why) and I noticed Mongolia over in Asia.
“Huh. I thought that was in Africa,” I commented.
“You did not,” he said laughing, but quickly realized that once again, I wasn’t joking. “Haven’t you ever heard of Genghis Khan and the Mongrels?”
“The Mongrels?! They call themselves that?!” I was in hysterics.
Then he was in hysterics. “Not Mongrels, Mongols! There’s no R! He had an empire and invaded China,” he said when he caught his breath. “Did you not learn this in school?”
Well, no. This is the beauty of being able to substitute some classes for others. Like substituting philosophy for art in college, for one. Substitution meant that I haven’t had to take a geography class since 7th grade or a World History class (that covered very little) since 9th grade.
Big ups to my brain for making sure my perfect GPA wasn’t killed. 😀
So, readers, what do you suck at?