Where Am I?

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Whenever I take the car, I constantly get lost and come home hours later than normal. I used to hate getting lost in LA, as it's so hard finding a payphone. I talked my mothing into getting a cell phone simply so that when I am home, I'll be able to easily call her or wherever I'm going and weep about driving around in circle for hours. I know that I am dyslexic and don't know right from left, but usually that's not why I get lost.

How's your sense of direction?

-- Kymm (hedgehog@hedgehog.net), September 05, 2000


I am seriously directionally challenged. It's sad.

When we moved down here (to PA), my brother and I used to get in the car and go exploring. It never failed that when we did that, we would end up in the middle of Valley Forge Park. We were both convinced that we were right about the directions (I should know better), so we'd argue, and he'd gone one way if he was driving, and I'd go another if I was, and eventually we'd end up in the park.

At least we knew how to get home from there.

-- Laura (windmills@diaryland.com), September 05, 2000.

When I am driving alone, I have an appalling sense of direction. Well, what usually happens is I get all caught up in some train of thought or ever, and switch into automatic pilot mode, which means I just keep driving and driving in the same direction until a huge wall looms up in front of me, or I regain consciousness and realize I've driven 20 or 40 miles past wherever I was supposed to turn off.

However, when someone else is driving and I am responsible for map reading, I am the Queen of Co-Pilots. I give just the right amount of advance warning before turns, I memorize entire segments of the map and always have at least one alternate route in mind in case something comes up.

I just cannot be left on my own. I'm fairly certain I could drive to Germany without realizing it, until I noticed that all the signs were suddenly in another language. Actually, I'm kind of surprised it hasn't happened yet.

-- Dawn (amgraffiti@superplin.com), September 05, 2000.

Jeff: Give me a map, and I can find my way anywhere.

Me: Give me a man with a map, and ditto!

I married a sense of direction, cause the one I was born with learns incredibly slowly. I have to factor about 30 minutes into the trip when I'm driving to somewhere I haven't been before, as I will invariably get lost. Of course, I have to factor in my innate lateness as well, I'm not officially late unless I haven't left the house by the time I'm supposed to be somewhere..

In most bits of Australia that I've lived in, other than the bits that are small enough to drive until you find your way back, and be stopped by desert if you go too far, I'e had myself a street directory, which was the first thing I bought after getting approval for my first car loan, even before the car. Maps don't cut it, they're too big, my eyes slide off the point I'm on, and tryign to do this while driving, bleagh. Street directories, nice little books, with the world vcut up into page length maps, and each map connected to the other by a cross indexed system of page numbers.

They don't have these for the are of NJ I'm living in. I have to wonder what people around here do, othr than drive aimlessly until they hit the area they need.

My sense of direction on a basic level, has to be constantly checked by referring to my hands, left, right, it's not an innate thing. So, coming to a country where the driving is done on the other side of the road, and fling in New Jerseys proclivities towards clover leafs and other road thingies that make you turn right to turn left, has just left my sense of direction shakier than before.

Course, it kicked in right as I landed in Australia for my holiday, making me inherantly a useless driver there now.

-- Amanda Page (amanda@amandasprecipice.com), September 05, 2000.

I seem to have an innate talent for *thinking* I'm lost and then turning out not to be after all. This has happened twice in the past week - the first time I turned onto a highway that I didn't think I wanted, and then got honked at by a yuppie in an SUV, and then ended up coming out on the exact street I wanted. The second time was yesterday - someone gave me directions (take 64th ave to Fraser Highway then turn right), and I spent so much time on 64th Ave that I was sure I'd totally missed the highway. Finally I decided "I'll drive for 5 more minutes and if I don't see it, I'll turn around and give up", and it turned out that I was three blocks away from the highway.

This talent drives my boyfriend insane, unfortunately. It works well for me. :)

Karla http://www.renaissancewoman.net

-- Karla Sexsmith (karla@silverspin.net), September 05, 2000.

I have a great sense of direction. Whatever was inherent in me was developed by my father, who deliberately lost each of his daughters in the woods behind our house. Kind of like the father in Swallows and Amazons who says "Better drowned than duffers If not duffers won't drown." I never get lost. I found Powell's with nary but a street address on my first trip to Portland (I navigating but not driving). Leaving, the driver didn't follow my instructions and I got us out of his tangle. I've been to Seattle once and without maps charted a bus route to take us from here to there. I've been to San Francisco once and spent a day walking from Pacific Heights along the coast to Golden Gate State Park and could find my way anywhere now. I've left directions at home and been able to find my way to places I've never been. And that's just driving or walking in cities. I wouldn't be my father's daughter (and oh, am I ever) forests, plains, or mountains confused me.

(I did get lost in Cambridge once--and nearly had to pee under a bush somewhere--but that was only because I had paid no attention as my friend drove us there (and I had forgotten to pee for too long).)

I don't understand what it would be like to have no sense of direction any more than I understand what it would be like to have been born blind. An English professor of mine said that maps were inherently sexist because any woman would reasonably conclude that an "up" arrow on a map would mean "uphill," not "north." Agenda to grind, anyone? Apparently this stupidity of hers had *nothing* to do with the fact that she grew up in Queens and didn't learn to drive until her job led her to rural Connecticut, with curved roads and trees and no public transportation, in her mid '30s.

-- Lisa Houlihan (lisa@penguindust.com), September 05, 2000.

I think it's a midwest thing, or a Kansas thing, but I'm always aware of North, South, East and the other direction. As a matter of fact, I can only tell right from left if I'm facing South (really).

If I'm confused over the four points I go insane. This has been useful finding my way around, I rarely get completely lost.

It drove me nuts when I lived in Panama, though. You see, at the Canal everything is wonkey because of the shape of the Isthmus and the Atlantic Ocean there is actually West of the Pacific Ocean. Look at a map if you don't believe me.


-- Bill Chance (chancew1@aol.com), September 05, 2000.

You mean that arrow on the maps doesn't mean Up from wherever I am??

I have no sense of North< south, East West. I currently have a map in my head of the USA, divided into Left, Right, Up and down. And the middle bits. I know I'm going to get hopelessly lost if the only directions people can give me start off "Drive 10 miles south"... Left, right, Up and down, street names and a street directory, my only hope. Until I've done the route 5-20 times, and then it suddenly becomes hardwired.

-- Amanda Page (amanda@amandasprecipice.com), September 06, 2000.

I don't think it's a midwestern thing, Bill. When I lived in Illinois, I was hopeless. I hadn't the foggiest idea which way was which. Luckily, I lived there long enough that I rarely got lost.

Here in Colorado, I get lost all the time, but I always know which direction is west. What I don't always know is which direction the place I'm going is from where I am.

So I guess I'm still hopeless.

-- Jenn (elphaba@frii.net), September 06, 2000.

Well, it sure isn't a New England city thing. When I moved out to California people were constantly telling me "Turn north on El Camino." What? What? How was I supposed to know which way was north? I had no idea. I got lost going out the door. It was insane.

-- Jessie (blue@avocation.org), September 07, 2000.

I am lost. Constantly.

I will leave work in about 15 minutes, and inevitably take a wrong turn on the way home. I have made the trip countless times.

I sit in my car having absolutely NO clue where I am half of the time and wonder if there is any salvation for the directionally challenged. Hypnotism? Medication? GPS implant? I just want my friends to stop making fun of me. Also, nothing is sexier to a girl than a guy who is obviously not an idiot, he's just lost 10 minutes from her house 45 minutes late for a date. I left half an hour early, I swear.

Maybe I will learn to navigate by the stars and only drive at night. Make it stop.

-- Aaron Caffey (alcaffey@hotmail.com), August 26, 2003.

I googled "no sense of direction" and found this link. I decided I was going to be teased for the last time on this problem and wanted to find some stats on it. I knew I wasn't alone.

I park at the same place at the mall or I can't find my car. I get lost at rest stops trying to return to my car. I live 45" from the Canadian border and was thrilled to find the Vancouver airport when I needed to do so. (But, my party met me out front. I didn't have to park!) That's the only time I drove alone to Canada. I live in fear I'll end up in Moosejaw!

My husband wrote a computer inventory program for our things in storage and he gets so upset when I look at the computer screen and still can't figure out where the box in question is located, UNLESS I'm facing the same direction as the map.

I feel better just knowing I'm not the only one directionally challenged. Thanks!


-- Lani Peterson (w2sweets@aol.com), August 04, 2004.

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