Monday, 11 June 2012

Finding My Way Out Of A Wet Paper Bag

(To all my loyal readers: I am so sorry about the length of time between blogs. I have no excuse, except that the month of May is an incredibly busy one in our family. On the days we had nothing to do, I was quite often recuperating from the days where too much had to happen. Now that the birthdays and graduations of all kinds and May Long Weekend have passed, I hope to get back into the habit of regularly posting my thoughts. Thank you for your patience. Please send booze.)

I can't find ANYTHING. You can give me a map and precise, minute by minute, turn by turn directions, and it won't help. I will get lost, and I will cry. I cannot understand even the most direct of routes without having it explained 8 or 10 times, in the very simplest of terms. When I do understand a route, I cannot retain it. I am completely geotarded (or for those of you who prefer the more pc version, locationally delayed).

I have been lost in a lot of places.

I have been lost in the States.

I have been lost in Europe.

I have been lost (repeatedly) while out camping as a child. At a family reunion at Mount Kidd when I was about 10, I went to the lodge to use the bathroom (we weren't allowed to pee in the trailer unless it was midnight. Neither are my kids. Some of the old rules are GOOD rules), and took so long coming back that my mom had to send my sister and 2 of my cousins out to look for me. It didn't even occur to her to think I had been eaten by a bear- she just assumed I was wandering aimlessly around the bathrooms, unsure of how I had gotten there and how I was going to return. That is, in fact, where they found me. To this day, I can't leave the lodge at Mount Kidd without consulting a map.

It's weird. I can coordinate the schedules of 6 very busy people, budget down to our very last penny, and remember useless information about fighter jet specs and who fought what war in England in 1066, and yet I cannot, for the love of anything holy, figure out which way is west unless the sun is setting (rising???).

I have had to take all 4 kids there at least once, and still, every 3rd or 4th time we go to the 'new' Children's Hospital, I get about halfway there and realise I have no idea where I'm going and have to call home for help.

I drive with my hands in the 10 and 2 position on the steering wheel so that if someone says 'turn left', I can make the 'L' shape with my fingers and go in the correct direction. I have dropped off a child at a mall and when I returned 3 hours later to pick them up, I have been unable to find that same store again. I once went looking for the MIllarville Farmer's market and ended up in Nanton. Twice. In the same trip.

I can sit in the passenger seat and navigate from a map for Jason and get us from small town to small town with no issues at all. But when I have to put theory into practice, I can't do it. I got us all the way to and from Stoney Plain, Alberta, using my map reading skills, and when I went out that night to pick up dinner, I forgot which exit to take on the new traffic circle two blocks from our house and ended up at the Glenmore Reservoir instead of at Joey's Only.

I once got lost in a truck stop. If you're thinking it was some sort of giant ass truck stop that covered 155.4 square miles of land, and had 13 exits and entrances, think again. It was a teeny, weeny, baby sized truck stop smack in the middle of Calgary. I couldn't get out because all the semis were too high and I couldn't see the way I came in. I had to ask for help getting out to the main road, and the guy I asked looked at me like I needed a drug test, pointed and said, "It's about 15 feet that way." (I'm not telling you which road it was, because if I tell everyone it was Ogden Road, they'll figure out I was actually lost at the Road King and I'm going to sound pretty freaking stupid).

My IQ is in the triple digits. I can tie my own shoes. I can be trusted with sharp objects like toothpicks and butter knives, and I don't need to be medicated or rehabbed on a regular basis. No one has to supervise me- I am actually trusted to supervise OTHER (smaller) people. I can usually win at Trivial Pursuit (unless we're playing the Sports Edition, in which case it's all Erik, and none of us even try.) (That's a lie. We don't play the Sports Edition. Because the only one who would ever win is Erik. And if you can't tilt the odds in favour of the women, there's really no point in playing.)

And still, about once every 2 or 3 months, I look up when my husband is driving through a neighbourhood we have driven through 817,254 times before (often our OWN neighbourhood), and exclaim, "What the hell? Where are we???" He hates that. For years he thought I was joking, until one day he made a snotty comment and I burst into tears and he realised that I really didn't recognise the kid's school if we came at it from the wrong direction.

When my best friend, Jamie, and her family had been living in the 'new' house for about 6 years, I drove over to her place to hang out the one day. I had to stop first to drop off Isaiah's lunch at school, and forgot how to get onto Glenmore from there, and ended up on Memorial. Although I had ONLY ever taken Glenmore before, I figured it shouldn't be a whole lot different- I just needed to get off Memorial on 8th. Or was it 6th? Definitely 4th. It was 4th.

I drove and I drove and I drove, and the houses started to get scarier and seedier, and the sky started growing dark. (It wasn't, but my panic had begun to make me lose the sight in one eye.) I drove for what seemed like hours, getting more and more concerned as I went farther and farther without recognising a landmark. At one point, I began to worry that I had left the city and was now in Chestermere. Short of stopping the car and actually ASKING someone if I was in Chestermere, there was no way of knowing the truth. I was a wreck.

I finally pulled over into a parking lot outside a strip mall, calmed myself down, and called Jamie's house. Her mother, who was in town for a visit, answered the phone, and I couldn't hold it together anymore. I lost it. When she realised how hard I was sobbing, she took a few minutes to let me get it out of my system and asked, "Oh, honey, are you lost again? Look out the car window and tell me what you see."

As I described the unfamiliar territory surrounding my vehicle, I could hear her relaying the information to Jamie, in the hopes that I would see something familiar to both of them. When I stopped for a breath, Marlene jumped right in.

"Jamie says to leave the parking lot the way you came in, turn right, and drive up 3 blocks. Then pull over, get out, and ring the doorbell. We'll see you shortly."

She still worries about me.

So the next time I ask you for directions, please, don't tell me to 'turn west on 64th', or 'go south at Christie Cove' or 'head towards the airport'. Just get in the car with me (preferably in the driver's seat), and take me there yourself. It may cost you a few hours, but in the long run, it will save you the pain of filling out the missing persons report. 

Sometimes, it's about the bigger picture.

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