North, South, East, and What?

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!”


Isn’t it lovely how The Office is always relevant?

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. 😀

images (4)

Just because I nearly died laughing when I came across this in my search.

So, readers, what do you suck at? 


37 thoughts on “North, South, East, and What?

  1. Ha! Good one. Fortunately, DW and I are pretty good at finding our way around. Back in the time before GPS we used maps. She’s navigate and I’d drive. She was my Siri 🙂 Glad you have something that gets you around now! You must live in a pretty big town.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mindy says:

    SAME! I’m so bad with directions! ,I too, have had to enter my house into my GPS despite only going to the mall. I’ve gotten better and have gotten general locations down, but I’m lost with street names. I have to have an object or place in order to be able to picture it. Thank goodness for GPS and iPhones!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG we are so alike with this, I even get lost with sat nav’s and if I enter a shop on the high street, you can be sure I’ll completely lose my bearings once I leave the shop

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m good with directions and maps and stuff like that. I often quiz my kids on how to get home from where we are, or how to get to school from the park, stuff like that. I’m better than The Mister, who gets lost quite easily and never finds short cuts, but he’s aces with topography, and I’m like, “THIS IS TOO VAGUE!”
    Still, I drive by landmarks. Those neighborhoods where all the houses look the same are torturous to me, and I’ve lived in three. Pulled into the wrong driveway halfa dozen times.
    Everyone’s got something(s). I have about zero spatial ability. Think hanging photos, putting away leftovers, how to get the tricycle in my car, how much mulch to fill a bed, how many water bottles fit in a box…
    I can’t math. Well, I can basic math, and math with money, but equations beyond basic geometry are virtually impossible for me, despite my IQ…
    I can cook like you would not believe, but it took me a really long time to learn how to boil and egg to perfection and to cook sticky rice. Yep.
    Shower curtain hooks puzzle me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m working a new job that involves stocking hospital supplies. All my coworkers can get asked things like “Hey, where’s the 359077?” and will know what item that is and where it’s located. I will never be able to learn item numbers. I can learn names, and what things look like, and the locations, but item numbers are way beyond my capabilities.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This reminds me so much of my mother-in-law. She always says she is convinced she blacked out during the year they were taught geography because she has no idea where anything is either locally or globally and is terrible with directions. Though, to be fair, women do better with landmark directions versus spatial directions. So men will fare well with “go 400 feet and turn right” whereas women do better with “drive until you see the big tree with red leaves and turn right”.

    I’m usually pretty good with directions, but there was this time I went on a road trip with college friends. This was pre-GPS so we had a paper map. I was the assigned navigator. At some point my friend who was driving sensed maybe we were lost. He asked where we were. I said, “I have figured out how to get there, but I am not going to show you where we are on this map until we are several miles closer.”

    My friends still bring up that story whenever we’re together, lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. first, on directional challengability (yes, i made up a word, so sue me.) like you, i am visual. we differ because two years later, i’ve retained the look and feel. after being some place once, I know by look and feel where the next turn is. that has actually gotten a bit worse since the advent of gps. since I use the crutch, i don’t exercise that muscle as often.

    i suck at spelling, grammar and keyboarding. i’m sure there are times were you say, “what the f*ck is he trying to say??” it’s kind of an adhd kind of thing. my brain races, my fingers can’t keep up, the brain races ahead, my fingers give up in frustration and drop words or change words. just proofread your stuff, you might say. Well,,you see, it goes like this. my brain, even a week later, will remember what it told the fingers what to do. instead of reading what’s in front of me, it reads what brain told the fingers to write. i do better now, since text to speech. i have the device read it back to me. the ear can then protest if something sounds wrong.

    sometimes i’ll do a manual proofread thinking i’ve slowed down my brain sufficiently enough. disaster ensues when two weeks later, a look at what i wrote and I say, “what the f*ck was i trying to say?”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Well GPS is the reason I leave the house, lol. Its normal for me to get stuck, take a wrong highway, get on to wrong exit. I used to panic, sweaty hands on the wheel and just the worry where I am going to land. Even with GPS on I would be lost, so it’s relatable. But now I remember what my hubby said, put home on GPS (even google map is pretty smart) and one or another you’ll get home. I don’t like it when the new routes my GPS takes but atleast I’ll be home;)
    Oh I do call to announce me being lost, he is used to of it too now lol..

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    I am somewhat the same way.

    Names….nope. Cannot remember your name. However I do remember your face, can recall specific conversations and know exactly where we met.

    Street names….nope. Couldn’t tell you intersection names. I can tell you exactly what stores, landmarks and other interesting things are at at each corner of the intersection.

    Guess it is just how some of us are wired.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. nikisthoughts says:

    I have a horrible sense of direction. I didn’t start really driving until I was in my last semester of college. For Christmas before I started, my parents got me a GPS. It has been so helpful through the years! I would be so lost (literally) without it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sadly, I get it. I have to concentrate fiercely and it stresses me out. The sickest feeling in the world is accidentally driving miles & miles out of your way. Or getting on a subway going the wrong direction. Or driving into a notoriously bad urban neighborhood because you went the wrong way. I’ve done all.

    Back in the days I actually went into MALLS, after I went into a store and then exited back into the corridor, I often couldn’t figure out which direction I’d just come from.

    Numbers. Was it 58 C or 46 B? April 3 or April 6? My lack of world geography is embarrassing. My understanding of who-is-killing-who-where is poor.

    I suck also at politics. Preamble, House of Representatives, Majority Whip, sequestration, Senate hearing, filibuster… my mind can not grasp and maintain an understanding of all that stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. the-reluctant-parent says:

    I’m horrible with geography but a good friend of mine who is also blind, well he has a little bit of vision, he’s a human compass and can tell you where everything is in the town in which he lives.

    I also suck at math, especially algebra .

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The same as you – directions. I get lost in my home town and visiting my kid. I traumatized my grandson the other day when I drove past his house. I tried to calm him down and tell him we will get there soon.


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