Monday, September 20, 2010

Fuck getting places: directions suck

Part of an old hand-drawn map, dating from about 1840, author unknown, showing Portobello, Dublin, and environs. From Wikipedia.
I fucking hate directions. No matter how simple, no matter how straightforward, left alone, I will fuck them up and get lost for a half hour. One must literally draw me a map to ensure I arrive somewhere in a reasonable time frame. And sometimes, even that doesn't work. Unless I live or work there, I do not know how to get there.

Yesterday, I picked up and dropped my friend off at her house. This friend is a good friend, and one of few faithful readers of this blog (hey girl, hey). I've been to her house at least a dozen times over the years, and at least a half a dozen times since the beginning of this year.

But since I can get lost in the simplest of situations, I still had to call her and ask her "okay, so right at the McDonalds, right?" It's probably rude - sorry, girl - but I didn't think of it that way. Rather, I thought of it as not wasting a fucking hour of our time getting hopelessly lost and frustrated, because even though she lives in my very small hometown, even though I've taken the same route to her house at least a dozen times, I'm still too fucking obtuse to find her house without her holding my cellular hand.

I love driving, but I cannot do it for a long period of time in new areas unless my partner gets all patriarchal by my request and tells me when to take a left, and then vigilantly ensures that I do not take a right. Geography and the simplest of directions, down to right vs. left, give me mega anxiety. I've gotten lost a number of times in my life - too many to count, really, but here are a few that stick out in my head.
  • two blocks from my childhood house while coming home from elementary school through a slightly different route (ran home crying)
  • my high school best friend's house the single time I did not go with a crude but detailed map (went 13 miles over the speed limit and cried to a cop)
  • on the way to my boyfriend of two years' house (was actually basically on the right path but still freaked and ended up crying on the phone to him)
As I left my friends, she gave me very simple instructions consisting of no more than two rights and two lefts and maybe two stop signs. It turned into a half-hour excursion through my town's backroads that ended up on the other side of town.

But I made it home, eventually, once I found Main Street. And I didn't cry. And when I am trying to assume the awesome responsibility of escorting myself to my destination, sometimes not crying is all the victory I need.

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