Dimensionally Challenged Musings

While waiting for the rest of the caving party to return, I got curious to where this small space might lead.

I’ve always known that I was a little “different” from my peers growing up. I held my own when it came to academic aptitude, but it was a losing battle when it came to anything that demanded spacial/proprioceptive abilities. When I was a teenager, it meant that I was the one eventually perfected the art of tumbling over my bike handlebars without acquiring broken bones. When I became an adult, I realized the severity of my inability to grasp geography when I became a cab driver in a rapidly-growing Midwestern town.

I was outfitted with an ancient GPS and a computer system that mysteriously told me where to go during the day. The dispatchers had the ability to watch my every movement, which I think was the reason I was never fired. I provided daytime entertainment for an otherwise dull workday.

I would often be sent over the small freeway or to still-developing corners of the town on a time-sensitive run. The result was always the same. I would mix up East/West or North/South and off I’d go in the wrong direction..and continue on my merry way until I realized my mistake…then I would play a game I call “Where is the Darn Closest Exit?” I often lost to myself.

I was employed by the cab company for two very stressful, confusing years. I disappeared from the Midwest just to reappear sometime later on the East Coast. I took up writing again via Andrea Balt’s writing challenge and NaNoWriMo this past year. The result? I wrote a (very shitty) first draft titled….wait for it….”The Art of Getting Lost.” It was something I knew a lot about.

Recently, I came across an author whose work spoke right to my anti-compass, loving heart. It seemed like Rebecca Solnit, author of “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” made it alright to get lost…even if it was continuously.

Whenever I needed new perspective or my ego would grow outside of its container, I would either lose something of some value (often it is keys, phone, lip balm, pen…) or become unabashedly lost somewhere. I began to see a different perspective out of sheer exhaustion; either I can get really upset with myself or slow down and enjoy this new and unexpected adventure.

There is much to learn about this ancient forgotten art of finding new adventures. Rebecca Solnit talks about humanity and our dual relationship with loss, and describes it this way:

Lost really has two disparate meanings. Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing. There are objects and people that disappear from your sight or knowledge or possession; you lose a bracelet, a friend, the key. You still know where you are. Everything is familiar except that there is one item less, one missing element. Or you get lost, in which case the world has become larger than your knowledge of it. Either way, there is a loss of control. Imagine yourself streaming through time shedding gloves, umbrellas, wrenches, books, friends, homes, names. This is what the view looks like if you take a rear-facing seat on the train. Looking forward you constantly acquire moments of arrival, moments of realization, moments of discovery. The wind blows your hair back and you are greeted by what you have never seen before. The material falls away in onrushing experience. It peels off like skin from a molting snake. Of course to forget the past is to lose the sense of loss that is also memory of an absent richness and a set of clues to navigate the present by; the art is not one of forgetting but letting go. And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.

If this is true, then I should be close to my Master’s Degree in this invaluable reality. I would say my diploma’s in the mail, but you know the truth…it’s around here somewhere…

In a tiny moment of seriousness, I have learned to slow down and enjoy the unexpected moments that I have been given. Sometimes, I think, that I trade an impeccable sense of direction for happiness and a sharp sense of humor ☺

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Originally published at proudmommaofgirls.wordpress.com on January 11, 2015.

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