Hello. My name is Jan and I’m directionally challenged.
I once dated a man who said I was the only person he knew who could get lost in a parking lot; the fact that we were desperately trying to get out of the parking lot at Best Buy while I was driving probably only proved his point. And I hope there is an entire level of Hell reserved for the engineers who design Wal-Mart’s parking lots, for I’ve been known to cruise around them for hours yelling, “Is there cheese at the end of this maze???”
My beloved and I are thinking about buying a new car, and while he is thinking moon roofs and built in MP3 players and gas mileage and can we get a tax break if we buy a hybrid? I want only one thing – a GPS. One that says, clearly and concisely, “Turn left here NOW” and “See that fork in the highway up there? GO RIGHT.”
The fact that, under the right circumstances, I have the ability to become lost in the second story of my own home has only been exacerbated by moving 1,200 miles from the city where I spent the first 42 years of my life. Parking lots notwithstanding, I didn’t get lost there because I’d been driving all over Dallas since I was 16 years old. If someone said “Yeah, just go north on Central Expressway, get off at the Northwest Highway exit and it’s two blocks down from Half Price Books” I knew EXACTLY what they were talking about. Up here, if someone tells me, “Go south on 77, take the 4th exit after the Boy Scouts’ regional district subdivision headquarters and then go west until you pass Big Guido’s Leaning Tower of Pizza” you’re gonna be met with a blank stare, and that’s just all there is to it.
So, I want – nay, I insist – on a GPS. And if my beloved is as smart as I think he is, he’ll agree to it, if only to avoid conversations like this:
“Hey, dear – let’s go to Yoder Miller’s Authentic Amish Fruit and Vegetable Tourist Trap and get some rutabagas!”
He almost always resists going to Yoder Miller’s Authentic Amish Fruit and Vegetable Tourist Trap, insisting that he can’t put off some important chore like laundering his drop cloths or waxing the lawnmower, and reminds me I can get rutabagas at the grocery store right down the street.
“But I don’t want grocery store rutabagas,” I tell him. “I want fresh, locally grown rutabagas. Grocery store rutabagas are old and rubbery and covered in deadly pesticides because they’re shipped from Guatemala.”
Knowing full well my next statement will be that if he insists on poisonous, rubber Guatemalan rutabagas he can cook dinner himself, he says, “Well, just go yourself – you don’t need a chaperon.”
You’d think he’d know my reply to that by now: “But I don’t know HOW to get there.”
“Good grief! It’s easy – we’ve been to Yoder Miller’s Authentic Amish Fruit and Vegetable Tourist Trap a hundred times!”
“No, it’s NOT easy because YOU take a different route every time we go there!”
“Okay,” he sighs, rolling his eyes, “it really is simple. Just go west on the highway for about 5 miles until you get to Rural Route 4792, then go south…”
“Look,” I say, interrupting him, “cut the north and south crap. The only reason I know right and left is because I’m reasonably sure I’m right-handed. Here are your keys – you’re driving.”
Yup, I’d say the new car is going to have a GPS.