Thursday, October 06, 2011

Directionally Impaired

By Paula Matter

I got lost last Sunday leaving the restaurant parking lot where I'd just had lunch with Annette. When we sat at the red light waiting to make a left tun, Annette suggested we should be making a right. No way could I switch over to the right lane, and besides, although I trusted Annette's judgemjent, I didn't believe her. The restaurant had been on our right when I turned into its parking lot, so obviously it would be on our left when we left.

Or something like that.

I'm thinking about following directions today because I have one of my biggest (longest) road trips coming up. In twelve days, I'm driving from Pennsylvania down to Miami. By myself.

Before I leave I'll have printed out step-by-step directions for each part of the trip. My first day, I'll drive just under 500 miles to Rocky Mount, NC. The next day, 500 more miles to Florida where I'll visit my sister for a couple of days.

I'll have two more stops before actually getting into Miami. I'll be seeing family and friends I haven't seen in years. When I'm not staying with friends or family, I'll be in hotels. My reservations are all set.

My only reservation now is whether or not I can do this trip without a GPS. Or maybe I'll just stay out of restaurant parking lots.

How about you? Are you directionally impaired? What's your worst getting lost story? Do you map out your trips ahead of time? Make hotel reservations beforehand? Or just wing it?

Hope you enjoy the following:


Annette said...

I'm still totally amazed that I was RIGHT about which way to turn! I'm horribly directionally challenged. I could never make any long trip without my GPS (nicknamed Gracie). For one thing, with maps and directions, you have to take your eyes off the road to read them. Gracie makes a great co-pilot. And I can turn off the volume when she talks too much. Hence the name. "Say goodnight, Gracie."

Ramona said...

I'm terrible at directions and I can't read a map, and yet I always get where I need to go...eventually.

Gina said...

Paula -
I'm totally geographically inept. I tell people I get lost in my own basement and they think I'm kidding!
My recommendation is OnStar. You get to talk to a live person who sends instructions to your car, then your car tells you where to go. If the car gets lost or confused or the directions aren't working for some reason (i.e., police have blocked the road for SWAT activity), you can get to the live person again who will go above and beyond to help you out. Plus it will call emergency personnel if you wreck, and will relay info on wrecks you see to the appropriate responders. It's a great service.

Joyce said...

I have a GPS--mine is named Judy Garmin. Personally, I think Judy is more directionally challenged than I am. She wants me to go some weird ways sometimes. Then she gets bitchy when I go a different way.

Patg said...

I don't like written directions to follow, I like looking things up on a map as I follow them more easily. GPS? Well, the people who use them to get to my moorage are always given wrong information by their GPS, so I'm not impressed.
Paula, I can understand needing directions once you get to a town where your families are, but what's so hard about straight highways from OH to FL?
PLEASE do not tell me you are a back roader. There have been so many tragedies and murders here in OR over that that I'm against sightseeing alone.
I'm a major planner, so I'm all for plans, and don't forget to give 10 people you itinerary with stay location addresses and phone numbers.

Annette said...


Joyce said...

I've heard that word way too many times. I've actually yelled at the GPS to shut up.

NL Gassert said...

In general, I like the idea of a GPS, but in reality I think they stink most of the time. Locally, if I don’t know where I’m going I look on the street map before I go and jot down directions if I need them after consulting the map. I live in Hawaii and the majority of my friends complain about their GPS lagging behind and thus giving them the wrong/late directions. On multi-state trips (we did a few of those the last two years), we also booked hotels in advance, because you never know when a town is booked out for a conference or what not. Worse, after driving ten hours, you’re tired and hungry and cranky and the last thing you want to do is drive around trying to find a good deal. I like booking in advance, because I know I’ll have a great hotel with a nice, cool pool to look forward to and that makes those last few hundred miles go by smoother.

Locally, I don’t mind getting lost – it’s how I learn the lay of the land and how I discover short cuts and great little restaurants and out the way stuff I wouldn’t otherwise discover. I usually just start driving in the general direction and somehow, after trial and error, I end up where I have to go. My husband always wonders how I know the side streets so well … :-)