Why did I get in a wet paper bag in the first place?
Originally published at rhiyaya.com on January 29, 2016.
“God, you got a negative sense of direction, hon.” Ed to Evelyn, Fried Green Tomatoes
My mom’s version was always, “Rhiannon could get lost in a wet paper bag.”
I’ll have you know that’s not true, because I would claw my way straight through the soggy paper. I have mad problem solving skills. The fact that I’d never find the entrance is pretty spot on, though.
There’s no real accounting for it, just the knowledge that it’s always been like this.
I grew up in a fairly small town, and the directions to get to the mall from my house would be, “go down that street right there, and then turn left and go until you get to the mall.” Except nobody would ever ask for directions to the New Bern mall, because seriously? It’s the mall. Everyone knows where the mall is. When I got my license I had to ask. Repeatedly. Full disclosure: I had to look it up on Google Maps just now to be sure.
When I am inside a building and am pointing towards another part of town, I just point in whatever direction makes sense based on my mental image of my location. Just because I pointed to my right should not be in any way construed to mean that the destination is actually that direction. I may be picturing myself standing beside wherever it is you want to be, so I point next door. It’s almost never next door.
I get lost in parking lots all the time. Malls are the worst, because they invariably have 642 entrances onto eight different roads, and I have no idea where I came in, or which road I should use.
That’s if I find my car in the first place. I think that from now on when I get out of my car in large parking lots I’m going to take cellphone photos of my surroundings. The digital version of bread crumbs. I can think of three separate occasions where I have lost my car in a parking deck. I don’t mean for a couple of minutes, I mean half an hour or more; I mean wandering around the parking deck, going to each floor, hitting the panic button. The other day I parked where I normally do to pick up Lorelei from school, but we came out of a different exit. I turned left onto the sidewalk as always, then walked down the street the correct distance, and my car was gone. It was not there, and I just stood with Lorelei looking around feeling like the chance that my car had been stolen or towed was pretty slim, but then where was it?! After maybe five minutes of complete confusion, during which it dawned on me that the parking signs were not where they were supposed to be either, I came to the realization that I was on the wrong street. I had come out of a different door of the school! I needed to take another left! Of note is the fact that Lorelei was not fazed by this. Because…
My five year old has known this about me for years. If I should so much as miss a turn, she exclaims, “*sigh* Mommy, are we lost? Again?” She has told people, “My mom gets lost all the time.” If I am clearly thinking hard about which direction to go, she will say, “Mom. Just ask Siri.”
I’d talk about my long-standing anger at the condescension that just drips from Siri’s voice, and the voice of all navigation systems, but Jenny Lawson already wrote that blog.
Leaving exam rooms causes me a fair amount of anxiety. I get to the office and sit in the waiting room, then they lead me to the scale, sometimes to another room, and finally the exam room. By this point I am thoroughly lost, even if it was all down the same hallway. Every time I think, “Okay, this is the time I will pay attention so that I don’t look stupid when I try to get out of here.” By the time I am walking with the nurse I am already thinking about what my blood pressure will be, who decides what videos to show in the waiting room, and how embarrassing it must be to be the actor in some of those videos. Does that person in the erectile dysfunction segment really have that issue? And which is worse? Having erectile dysfunction or pretending to have erectile dysfunction? When the actors in the video tell people they are in show business, and the other person asks, “Oh yeah, anything I’d have seen?” how do they answer with a straight face? Unless they actually have it, in which case they probably don’t feel much like laughing about it. And their poor kids who have to lie about what their dad does for a living, because they are too embarrassed to admit the truth. Which is probably how my children will feel about this blog some day. And wow, I just lost my train of thought in a paragraph about losing my train of thought.
Then eventually I sit down in the exam room and think, “how did I get here?” The last time my doctor sent me down to the lab I had to retrace my steps twice. And the lab wasn’t across town, it was down the hall and around a corner. BUT WHICH CORNER?! I was saved some extra embarrassment because as I was walking out of the exam room the nurse said, “Okay, go down to the lab and then come back here. Back here to EXAM ROOM SIX.” I imagine that my chart says, “patient disoriented, please remind of exact location.”
I don’t even know how to end this post because I can’t seem to find the end of the page. Maybe Siri can help?