Lost and Found

As I was driving home from The Metropolis today, I realized that I had no idea where I was, and even less idea how to get to a place I DO know.

This happens to me a lot.

I am a terrible map reader. Wait; strike that. I can READ a map, but for whatever reason, I just can't put it to good use. There is just no connection for me between the lines and squiggles on the paper and whatever road I happen to be on at any given time. It's AWFUL. This is why I will never live more than ten miles from my job, and why I always put a full tank of gas in the car before I leave the county.

You might think that familiarity with a particular route would keep me from taking a side trip. You would be wrong.

Today, for example, I was coming home from the yarn store--a place I have been a good many times WITHOUT getting lost--and I wound up at the city hospital, across the street from my dad's high school. I had never driven myself there before, yet inexplicably, there I was, staring at the pine trees my dad had to plant during Saturday School during the 70s.

I cannot count the number of times I have tried to come home from the mall by way of Nashville, which is nowhere near here. I have been lost in the ghetto of St. Louis--at night; I have driven through some of the most back-country parts of southeast Missouri by accident; I found the Mississippi River when I just wanted to go to Sonic; I went to Bowling Green, Kentucky, when I was trying to get to Illinois. I could go all night on this list.

There is only one place in the world where I well and truly had the ability to read and follow a map. That place is London. In my own British Bizarro World, I was able to look at a map of the Underground and determine whether I wanted to take the Circle Line or the District Line. I knew what bus to take at what time and to what destination. I even walked from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace by looking at a map. THAT HAD NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.

I was thinking about that today, as I tried to figure out whether I wanted to take the interstate east or west, or if I wanted to go north or south on a state highway. I was remembering how, for five full days, I always knew exactly where I was, where I was going, and how I was going to get there. And I think, since that is such a huge and unnatural event, that London should put that on their tourist information: MEI FLOWER DID NOT GET LOST HERE.

No other city on earth can make the same claim.

1 comment:

The School Girl said...

Always have a map AND a compass. Know what street you're on (hopefully it's a main street) and remember at least two cross-streets in order. Then pull over and look at your map to see which direction you're going in. Even if you don't know where you are your compass can guide you in the right direction and you'll get to a familiar main street (relatively) soon.

Take it from the lady who has a map of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge in her glove compartment, because, yes, she's been lost in all of those places. BTW, city maps are invaluable.


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