I am directionally impaired.
It surprises people since I seem fairly put together and mentally organized.
The reasons behind my impairment are simple. First, and this might be the most important bit, I don't instinctively know my left from my right.
When I was fifteen and in driver's ed, Mr. Bonny asked me to make a right turn at the intersection. I, of course, turned left. He told me to pull over and suggested I tie something to my wrist before taking my drivers test. It was a good call.
And yes, I know the thumb and forefinger of my left hand makes an "L" and I know I wore my wedding ring on my left hand and I know I write with my right hand, but I always have to stop and think for a split second. When that split second is in the middle of zipping traffic, I get into trouble.
Side note: My sisters are mostly the same way which means you should never let us give directions.
Second, and this is equally important, I don't understand the concept of going north to go south. If we lived in an area where the roads were grids, I'd most likely be fine. But we don't. And when I know the road should be going west and the setting sun is on my left arm, it confuses me and makes me question if I'm on the proper route.
Third, I question if I'm on the proper routes which typically results in me making several wrong turns trying to get myself back on track only to discover I was never off track and am now sitting in the industrial area of LA on a moonless night.
Fourth, I can't read a map unless it's turned in the direction I want to go which is tough to do when my phone's Google map self-orients as I turn the phone.
Fifth, if I'm driving at night, the lights glare off my contact lenses and I can't make out sign names until I'm practically on top of them.
So there you have it. The reasons why I'm directionally impaired. Typically, it's not a huge deal. Sure, I'm usually late when I go to a strange home or location because I circled it a dozen times. But over all, not a big deal.
Until I drive someplace like Sacramento to visit my friend Matt and spend six and a half hours on the road taking every known freeway in the Bay Area.
Side note: Why the hell are there so many "80s" up there?? The 80, the 680, the 580, the 280. I think there might even be a 180.
After four hours of driving, I finally called my mom for navigational help. She sat with me, the maps opened on her computer, until I got within twenty miles of Matt's place. Before I hung up, she made me promise to ask him to talk me through the directions.
Not wanting him to think I was a ditz, I tried to play it off.
Which might have had a better chance at success if I wasn't two and a half hours late because of wrong turns.
He got on the phone and started rattling off words like "pocket" and "river" and "exit numbers". In minutes he understood what my mom had wanted me to confess: I don't need directions, I need a team of navigators. He expressed his disbelief that I could be this bad at simple road directions until I took a wrong turn as soon as I exited.
Then he semi-patiently guided me to his house.
And yes. On the way home, following precise directions, it only took me four hours.
And yes. He drove wherever we went the rest of the weekend.
And yes. My next car will have GPS.
2 hours ago