Directionally Challenged

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The first man in history to get lost and refuse to stop for directions was Christopher Columbus. Headed for India, he stumbled across America and wrongly pronounced its occupants ‘Indians.’

All because of his mistake, indigenous people are still referred to as Indians, or, for slightly more PC folk, American Indians.

That would be like if you were on the way to visit relatives and get lost on the back roads of Bumpkinville. You pull up a driveway and are like, “I’m sure this is the place!” You get out of the car and burst through the front door booming, “Hello, family!”

Strangers stare back at you. “We don’t know you,” they say. “Get out of our house!”

But you’re insistent. “No, no – this is where my GPS brought me, ergo you are all Williamses. Happy Thanksgiving, Williamses!”

I, likewise, have no sense of direction whatsoever. I wouldn’t be able to find my way out of a closed cardboard box. But, unlike Christopher Columbus, I don’t make my mistakes someone else’s problem.

I don’t like taking the train around Manhattan. More than just the heat and stink of those stations deep in the bowels of the earth, I have an issue that concerns only the directionally challenged: when you step off the train you must instantly decide which, of all the myriad exits, is the one you need to take. You can’t pause to consider whether you want NE, NW, SE, or SW because you’ve got a sea of commuters pushing up from behind who — because they are busy New Yorkers — will let you know how much you are inconveniencing them by being alive.

There’s so much pressure to choose correctly. If I don’t, I may find myself at 1st & Multiverse, 42nd & Quantum, or 5th Ave & 5th Dimension.

New Yorkers are quick to point out that because the city is on a grid, you can’t possibly get lost. Challenge accepted!