I am not comfortable giving anyone driving directions. When I worked in a Human Resources department and had to give verbal directions on how to reach our office to visitors from out-of-town, I had to have the printed directions in front of me. I read the directions to whomever needed them.
My Grandmother would say “turn left” when you were supposed to turn right. Her sense of misdirection was well-known in our family. I am afraid I have inherited some of her tendencies. I can usually find my way places just fine (it may take me a little longer than needed). I can’t coherently tell anyone else how to get places. You know it’s bad when you are out walking with your kids, and a stranger in a car asks where something is and you refer them to your kids! That happened when the boys were a lot younger.
My husband and my sons all seem to have an internal mental map system that they do very well with. My husband is fond of saying, “go East” or “turn West”. He also refers to most streets and highways by their Route numbers. I usually have no idea what he is talking about when he gives me directions.
My oldest son, Matt, was always big on maps. He used to collect them, and he’d study them for fun. I thought at one point that he might become a cartographer.
Definition of CARTOGRAPHER: one that makes maps
I even did some research to see if there were any job listings for a cartographer. There weren’t, unfortunately.
When Eric calls from the road to have someone access Google Maps for travel times or to tell him which routes are the best ones to take to avoid traffic or to save time, he talks to Matt. If Matt is not available, I am pretty useless. I can’t read maps, and if I can, I can’t articulate what I see. My mind is not hardwired that way.
I am very thankful for GPS systems and smartphones with navigational apps. They have not only been a God-send for me, but I find that fewer people are asking for directions these days. They have their own electronic assistance. They don’t need to ask someone on the street.
I returned from lunch today, and an older gentleman in my building’s lobby said, “Excuse me, ma’am? Can you tell me where One East Main Street is?” I immediately pointed the wrong way and said, “That’s East Main. No, wait a minute, that’s West. East Main is this way.” Why me? Now if he had asked me for Tim Horton’s, I could have told him immediately, “Across the street.” Tim Horton’s is located at One East Main Street.