North is Up (and Other Directional Observations)

Never. Eat. Shredded. Wheat.

Those four words sum up my directional abilities in their entirety. They represent the four pointed options on a compass.

Easy enough. But here’s where it gets tricky: the above is a static stationary image. If I move, there is no guarantee it will move. Then we end up going in varying directions.

Today was Harlan’s first birthday party. (Happy Birthday Harlan! Can you believe it’s been a year already?) So the muppets and I headed out to the party’s locale, in the city just south of where we live. We’ve been to Harlan’s house several times in the past year. And we get lost coming home each and every time. Without fail.

But each time, it’s a NEW lost. (Gotta keep things fresh. It’s all about discovery.) See, several of the streets are in the “New” area of town,  so Google Maps is continuously confused – refusing to acknowledging the streets exist. “Street not found.”

Dammit. I will show it to you when you get here!

But this doesn’t faze me anymore. I don’t even get frustrated. We just drive around in the Mom Mobile until we reach an area where we’ve likely been lost before. Then we find a freeway.

Directions aren’t my strong suit. If you ask me my gut feeling on North, I will point skyward.

I lived in the same house until I moved away to college. Born and raised an omigawd like totally San Fernando Valley girl. My world was an approximately 5-mile radius. We haunted the same spots. Sixteen years in, I passed my driving test. FREEDOM! The day I accomplished this right of passage I informed my mom I was ready for my first solo excursion. She was sending me to Target.

“Great! How do I get there?”

She stared at me dumbfounded. “Seriously?”

I nodded eagerly.

“You really don’t know how to get to Target?”

Now, to be fair, yes – I’d been to this particular Target about 5, 732 times over the course of the past 16 years. I knew where Target was. I knew where I was. I did not know how to connect the two.

With a doubtful and pitiful expression, she explained in explicit detail the single left turn involved in the 4.7 mile journey. “Exit the Canyon. Drive down Valley Circle. Turn left on Vanowen. Arrive at Target.” (I am not making this up.)

I’m pretty sure she thought she’d never see me again. (Granted, given my teenage self, I’m not sure this was a negative in her eyes…)

My mother called me moments before I departed on my first trip home from college via vehicle – Santa Clara to LA. “If you get to AuntJ’s, you went the wrong way.” AuntJ lives in Oregon. My mom was only kinda joking.

Recently I went to lunch with a colleague. When they handed me the address of our scheduled meeting I warned, “Ok, but we may end up in Arizona.” I was only kinda joking.

I prefer to think of this as a positive – skills of the adventurous. I’ve inherited my sense of geographic awareness from GrampaStavo. And he, much like Columbus, left the European continent and ended up in America. Mostly by accident.

This is the reason I’m not allowed to be co-pilot anymore.


Filed under Family Stories

10 Responses to North is Up (and Other Directional Observations)

  1. Gramma J

    Sympathy for the directionally challenged

  2. Megan

    It’s like you and I are cut from the same cloth. We really have to get together, but I’m not sure where the safest place to do that would be, provided we both should be at said place…

  3. Joanne Hamann

    Hey, from one directionally challenged person to another – I like the idea of calling it “adventure” – let’s keep using that!

  4. Gramma N

    Tricia, we do not get lost! We get temporarily distracted by bright, shiny things. I’m always trying to explain that to the lady in the GPS, while she screams “recalculating.”

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