I often say that one of the best things about having zero sense of direction (and not much more talent when it comes to landmarks) is that every mountain bike ride is a new trail, even at the park five minutes from our house. (Which, fortunately, is on a peninsula, so I can't get too lost.)
It’s a running joke that when I say something like “Let’s go get ice cream!” and point, I’m always pointing in the opposite direction to where I want to be. I’m also uniformly wrong when I stop, pick which direction I think is right, then point the other way. Let’s just say, my Tom-Tom (a gift from a treasured friend after hearing my story about getting from CT to NJ via the Bronx when I wandered off Rt. 95) is my friend.
Anyway, I bring this up because over the weekend, Arizona and I took the ferry over to the island where a chunk of his family resides. Unlike our usual visits, though, we had plans outside his normal stomping grounds. And when I looked at the directions, picked the first highway, and said, “Can you get us to Rt. 27 from here?” it turned out that he couldn’t.
Now, this is the guy who, on the ferry ride over, not only identified every hazard buoy by what it signified (big rock, wreck, or otherwise), he also listed what fish can be caught there at different times of the year, and usually had a story to go with. And he’s the guy who, when we’re out biking, can always point and say, “We want to be over there,” and lead the way with 100% accuracy. So it surprised me that he didn’t have a road map in his head.
Thinking about it, though, I realized that when he was living there, most of his navigating got done on the water or in the small town near his family. He could no doubt tell me the location of every bait store, breakfast-sandwich place, and marina within a ten-mile radius, if not more, because those are the things that mattered.
It's kind of like how I tend to give directions like “turn at the red barn with the white fence with the pretty pinto grazing out front.” Or how in high school, most of my crowd gave directions by the number of packies (New-England slang for liquor store) you would pass. Let’s not even talk about my childhood riding coach, who liked to say stuff like, “Take a left where the Davidson's blue barn used to be.”
So what about you? Are you directionally challenged, or are you one of those magical (to me, at any rate) people who always knows where they are and how to get where they want to be? Do you give directions by the third Dunkin’ Donuts on the left, by craft stores, or ?? Inquiring minds want to know!