Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I’m Lost


I don’t mean I’m metaphorically lost. I mean I’m literally lost. Okay, not right now. I know where I am right now. I’m at home. But should I leave that home, there is at least a 75% chance that I’ll get lost, and that holds true even if I’m going somewhere I’ve been before.  I’ve been noticing it more and more lately, and I don’t know if it’s a brain tumor or if I just don’t know my way around very well. I’m sure I probably should know my way around by now, since I’ve lived in this town for almost a year, but I work from home and that means I don’t get out much and it’s kind of embarrassing when I have to admit to somebody that I don’t really know where something is, especially when they get all, “Well do you know where [other thing] is?” and I’ll be like, “No,” and then they’ll kinda sigh and be like, “Well, do you know where [yet another thing] is?” and I’ll be like “No,” and then they’ll kinda huff and look me square in the eye and go, “Well you’ve got to know where [thing everybody knows where it is] is?” and I’ll throw up my hands and squeal “I DON’T KNOW WHERE ANYTHING IS!” and they’ll just kinda roll their eyes and sigh because I’m obviously a dumbass.

I have GPS in my phone but it doesn’t help much because I live in West Virginia, which is the Land That GPS Forgot. It keeps telling me to take a right turn into a cow and at one point, it actually asked me to get out of my car and swim across a lake.

Whenever I go anywhere I spend a lot of time driving around trying to figure out where the hell I am. Even when the GPS does tell me to turn onto actual roads and stuff, it often waits until I’ve actually passed them before it says anything. The motherfucker reads maps like my ex-boyfriend, ha ha ha ha ha. No but seriously, once we tried to go from Kalamazoo to Ann Arbor and we ended up in Detroit.

Here's a map if you're not familiar with Michigan.

The best time I ever got lost was when I was in college, and my then-partner and I were trying to go to a Halloween party. She was dressed as a “housewife,” which to her meant wearing pajamas and a bathrobe and half-assedly sticking some curlers in her hair, because we were 20 and figured no one gets dressed if they don’t have to. I was dressed as a pregnant nun.1 We were trying to find this off-campus house party, and in my day, kids, we didn’t have GPS. We had to rely on directions people gave us, and half the time those directions would include lines like, “Yer gunna take a right where the old school house used ta be,” or “Now yer gunna pass a McDonald’s and after it there’s gunna be a left turn. DON’T GO THAT WAY.”

So, we got lost. After an interminable time trying to figure out where the hell we were, we stopped at a McDonald’s, despondent. I wanted to go in and ask for directions, but the gf was embarrassed because we looked ridiculous. We stood in the parking lot and had a little argument about it.

A man sitting in a nearby car overheard us. “You girls lost?” he asked.

“Yeah!” one of us, probably me, announced and I approached the strange man’s car with too much enthusiasm. It was kind of a beat-up car and he was kind of a beat-up man, but I was a young and from the sticks. “We’re trying to get to 5555 Maple Drive, do you know where that is?”

“Of course I know where it is, I’m the Orkin man!” And “Boom!” the strange man pulled out a detailed city map – it was one of those maps that’s so detailed it’s printed in a book of 200 pages. This was Roanoke, VA, by the way – not exactly a major metropolitan center.2

The Orkin man flipped to the relevant page of his map and pointed. “You’re here,” he said, “And you want to go on down this way, take a right here, and then go on to your destination, here.” I’m proud to say that, thanks to that serendipitous encounter with the Orkin man, we made it that house party, and the gf bragged for months about how we got directions from the Orkin man.

Of course, she doesn’t remember it now. 



1 Not really. I can't remember what I was dressed as and neither can anyone else, so "pregnant nun" it is.
2 Don't tell them I said that.

12 comments:

  1. I get lost a lot too. GPS is my best friend because, in Sydney, it works - mostly. There was that road it directed us down in Scotland where I was sure we were going to get bogged and the road was too narrow to turn around, and I swear hubby ripped the bottom out of the rental car going through what cannot really be described by a word as innocuous as 'puddle'. And that road it tried to direct us down in Cape Tribulation that wasn't there. And the road in Ireland that wasn't finished... OK, I did say mostly, and I did say in Sydney!

    I got lost more when I was younger and, as you say, there was no GPS.My most hated words in diorections were 'and you can't miss it!'. Yes. Yes I can. I'm what you might call geographically challenged.

    Did you know that these days if you aren't in the GPS you don't exist? I live in a new area of Sydney, and apparently I don't exist. You certainly can't order pizza here. The mail arrives - most days. Yes, I'm in the part of Sydney where the 'mostly GPS works' comes into it. Mostly it does. But not here.

    We should not go road-tripping together.

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    1. I'm not on GPS either, lol, so I give people directions to my house, which shouldn't be hard -- go five miles down road x, take a right, then take the second right. But whenever someone tries to come here they always call me in a panic like "I'VE GONE THREE MILES AND I DON'T SEE YOUR ROAD YET!!!" LOL!

      The worst was when a friend gave me directions to her house and she listed a bunch of geological formations I was supposed to use as landmarks. I'm like, I realize we're in the country, but "Take a left at the rock that looks like a butt" isn't gonna help me. It didn't. And there was no cell service there so I had to stop at a gas station and beg to use a landline phone, since there are no payphones any more.

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  2. Every time my Mom and I go on a road trip we get lost; it's kind of our thing. On the way to visit my sister one time we ended up in the middle of nowhere on a gravel road and stopped at this shady looking farm house for directions. It was like the beginnings of a horror movie or something. Anyway, we obviously made our way out of said middle of nowhere and lived to tell the tale!

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    1. I don't know why everyone's so afraid of country people. We hardly ever eat anybody.

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  3. I can relate to this. I rarely go anywhere anymore because I'm old and live in L.A. And I don't speak Spanish. Did you know that L.A. has been taken over by Mexico? At least I can understand people in West Virginia. They're my homies. About half of my relatives come from WV since that's where my parents came from.

    If I'm out I don't do too badly. Fortunately I have a pretty good sense of direction and store up an internal data base of GPS information in my brain. My big problem is remembering why I'm going somewhere. And anybody who makes rounds around town like an Orkin man is probably a good person to ask for directions. I look for a cop if I'm sober but they never seem to be around when you need one.

    Lee
    A Faraway View

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    1. "When I'm sober." LOL! Cops have a sixth sense that tells them when to disappear. At least, American ones seem to.

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  4. I love our GPS since I was always the map-reader which meant I missed most of the scenery on the way to anywhere. So I love that I can sit back and let that person in the box tell us which way to drive. But sometimes, it occurs to me that I'm placing all my confidence in this box. What if it decides to go on strike and takes me to the middle of nowhere and stops working. Yeah ... scary, huh?

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    1. I don't think it's that big of a deal; even if the machines gain sentience, their batteries won't last long enough for them to kill many of us.

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  5. I am so so so addicted to GPS. Even back before we had read jobs my husband plunked down money for a gps (back when it was text only black and white thing, ahh 2003) and we've not bothered to learn our way around since. It's really bad. I once got lost maybe 5 miles from the house I grew up in and had to call my parents, in tears.

    Your story is awesome. Part of me misses those big map books. (a very small part)

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    1. It's not really possible for me to get lost 5 miles from the house I grew up in, since it's such a small town, and every road in the county inexplicably connects to every other road in the county.

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  6. I've lived in the same town for most of my life, so I rarely get lost. However, I'm the worst person to get directions from because I don't remember street names or visible landmarks...only things like "you go past that dairy farm that smells like shit, then turn where the horse that bites everyone hangs out, then once you get to the big tree that looks like it has a boob, keep driving for about half the chorus of "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC...it's the driveway next to the place with the army of goats"

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    1. Yeah, when you live somewhere your whole life, you have no reason to know any of the names of anything, so you give the shittiest directions ever.

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