I Get Lost. And That’s Okay.
My husband picks up the phone and instantly recognizes the panic in my voice.
“I need your help,” I say, trying to remain calm.
“What’s wrong?” He says.
“I don’t know where I am.”
“What street are you on?”
“I don’t know, a road!”
It goes downhill from there.
Why do I call my husband? I am too stubborn and panicked to listen to anything he says. But in that moment of chaos, it helps to hear a voice I recognize. No matter how many times I raise my voice at him, he does everything he can to help. It almost always ends with me hanging up on him. At least when I’m done screaming, I have gathered my thoughts.
Even in the time of endless technology, I get lost. Hopelessly lost. Last summer my sister and I were in Manhattan. We were trying to find a store we knew was close to our Air B&B. I typed in the address on my direction app and led the way. After 10 minutes of aimless walking, my sister began to get frustrated.
“Adele, this can’t be right.”
“But I’m doing what it says.”
“We’re walking the wrong way, I know it,” she told me, her voice rising.
“So, you find it!” I snapped.
She did. She found it right away. I later learned that I had put in the right store, but the wrong location.
It’s always been this way. In high school, I managed to end up 20 minutes away from a friend’s house. He lived in the suburbs 10 minutes from my house. 5 minutes from the school I drove to every day. I somehow ended up on the highway after several wrong turns. My friends had to come and find me. When they did, I made my boyfriend drive my car back. They still refer to it as “The Hilltop Incident” because that’s where I ended up. A whole different suburb.
What’s funny is I have never been embarrassed by my lack of directional skills. It’s one of the few “flaws” that I have accepted. I am a perfectionist. And I do get frustrated when I’m late. But, because I know that I get turned around, I leave early. This has turned me into the person who is always early. A trait that I’m proud of. It also reminds me that I don’t have to be perfect at everything. Which is humbling.
As the one who gets lost, I appreciate anyone who does have a sense of direction. I am lucky to have both a sister and a husband who can keep their calm and have an innate sense of where they are. If I get lost, I can count on them. But they know when it comes to picking the perfect place to eat, they can count on me. It just won’t be me driving there.
I don’t follow road names. And please don’t ask me to point North or South. I pay attention to the landmarks, like that one weird tree. Or the Mexican restaurant with the bright neon sign. I do what the nice voice on the GPS tells me. And that doesn’t always work.
But it’s fine. I usually find my way somehow.