I am not directionally challenged.
Okay, maybe sometimes, if there are too many doors in a bathroom, I have trouble reconciling which door was my entrance. And maybe I back out of our driveway and hit the television that was on the curb, but other than that, I’m good.
Since I began driving, more than twenty years ago, I’ve made countless road trips in the 500 mile range, and I’ve been lost three times. Once, I missed a junction sign in one of those small towns that leads only to other small towns. Another time I had the misfortune of finding out that the state of Georgia has State Road 16 as well as Highway 16, and those are not interchangeable. And then y’all know about the vet…
Anyway, I do not live and die by maps. I despise being asked where I am on a road trip. Usually my MIL calls me while I’m drivin, and asks me for a mile marker, so she can find me on the map. When MIL goes on road trips, she doesn’t drive, and therefore, can leisurely sit, tracing her route on the map in her lap. Clearly, this would be ill-advised for drivers. MIL always insists on knowing which podunk town I’m in, or worse, which towns I’ve already passed. Yeah. So while I drive, she sits with her map, and my inability to give her this crucial information is a sore subject.
I once drove from Indianapolis to the Chesapeake Bay, and I had nothing but disappointment for her, state after state.
This is the same woman who asked me if I knew where her son’s base was in Iraq. My answer, “Where the Tigris meets the Euphrates,” was too vague. Good enough for the Garden of Eden, but not good enough for deployed sons.
I never sought to understand the location, because honestly, knowing the latitude and longitude of him didn’t make it any closer or relevant.
Same kinda people write, “Afghanistan” on the packages they mail, and wonder why they come back…
Until our recent house shopping, I hadn’t realized this trait was a genetic issue, although I had been given a clue…
A few years ago, I drove from Fort Stewart, Georgia to Fort Lee, Virginia. A couple of hours into my trip, I called my husband to say, “We’re in Florence.” I tried to tell him how the kids were, and what the trip had been like. He kept askin me, “Florence?” and I kept sayin, “Yes, FLORENCE!” He asked me, “Isn’t that in the northern part of the state?” I had the urge to hurl my phone across the travel plaza, but I remembered how much my phone costs…so I said, “I dunno, am I lookin at a fuckin map right now? You wanna talk about where exactly Florence is? You can call yer mama, she can get out her atlas and y’all can just talk about it all you like!” Then he said, “You can listen to dial tone.” (Which I didn’t think was smart, when the woman comin to get your ass is only three hours from home, and could turn around.) I explained, “You know how I hate that! I’m just tryin to drive!” He tried to say somethin, but I yelled all loudly, like some crazy-ass bitch in the travel plaza, “I’m in Florence, South Carolina! Why isn’t that good enough? WHY ISN’T THAT GOOD ENOUGH?!?” Then I told him I was sorry I had called and I would call him later. Click.
I didn’t call him again until I was about a mile away.
This last month, as we looked at properties, every house I’d comment on, he’d ask, “Where is it?” I would say somethin like, “Tenth and Vine.” This was never enough. He’d map it. Then when he tried to tell his parents where it was, they’d ask him to be more specific. “Which side of the street?” So for five to ten minutes, they’d all discuss where it was in relation to the big church or the Shell station or whatever, while I rolled my eyes and raged inside.
Saying it’s in a specific neighborhood wasn’t of any help, either. Also not recommended? Screaming, “It’s in the same neighborhood as the last four houses we’ve mapped!”
Over and over, we’d do this, and over and over, I would walk the laptop over to my in-laws.
They do this with everything. Directions and locations are extremely important to them. They can spend considerable amounts of time arguing about whether something is at 28th, 29th, or 30th and Meridian.
Me? I’m all, “Let’s drive down Meridian Street until we see it.”
I am an irrational, useless twat.
I don’t know why it bothers me. I feel like they are making something out of nothing, but then there’s me, shaking with violent thoughts, obviously making something out of nothing, myself.
So I have to find acceptance.
The truth is that my husband is terrible with giving directions, following directions, and finding his way around without street maps. You give him a land navigation topographical map and he can capture the flag, find all the bad guys, or get a platoon from point A to B, but don’t ask him to head west on County Road and turn left after the Safeway. If you do, you’ll wanna map that out, note nearby landmarks, give him time to talk to his parents about it, etc, etc.