I am thankful for the five senses God gave me: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
I am envious, though, of those lucky people who possess a sixth sense.
I am not referring to ESP, but to a different, equally inexplicable sense some people demonstrate: a sense of direction.
I do not possess that sense.
In fact, I am probably the most directionally challenged person you will ever meet.
I never know exactly where I am in relation to other people, places, or things. I am not even confident of my location when I stand in front of one of those mall signs that read: You are here.
I attribute my lack of navigational skill outdoors to the fact that I grew up in rural Arkansas where every highway eventually became an unpaved road which eventually became a rutted, grassy lane which eventually ended at some creek.
We had no house numbers, no street signs, no traffic lights, and nothing we referred to as an “intersection,” although we did have several places where two roads met up with each other.
When people asked directions to someone’s house, we said something like, “Drive past the cemetery until you see the shot-up, cardboard deer that is used for target practice. Veer left there and drive until you get to the house where all the dogs run out and bark at your car. Then turn right and drive over the cattle grid, The first house you see is the one you want.”
Now that I live in a town, people expect me to find my way around using street signs.
Street signs, as a rule, are not helpful to me. Often the sign is missing when I really need it, or else the sign post has become twisted, making it impossible for me to tell which street is called what. Such signs only confuse me and make me suspect that what I originally thought was correct is probably wrong.
My lack of a sense of direction inside buildings may be even worse. When I leave an exam room at my doctor’s office, I see exit signs all over the place. But these signs lie. Every exit sign I follow leads me to a new hallway with an exit sign at the end of it. I can exit all day long and never leave the building.
I hate big arenas that have gates, levels, doors, and rows labeled A, B, C, or 1, 2, 3, etc. Sometimes words like north and south get thrown into the mix, making finding the place I am looking for even harder to locate.
An usher says to me, “Go to Gate C-16 on Level B-4,” as if she thinks those words mean something to me. When she sees my confusion she adds, “Just take elevator 9 on the north side of the building.”
My lack of a sense of direction does not mean I am mentally deficient.
I can work long division problems and convert the remainders to fractions or decimals.
I have won spelling bees.
And I would be a tough competitor in a game of Jeopardy if the categories were Nursery Rhymes, English Grammar, The Bible, Columbo Episodes, The 60s, and Neil Diamond song lyrics.
But unless that Jeopardy contest is held somewhere within sight of my house, someone else will have to drive me there.
I won’t find it on my own.
A follower provided some of the visual imagery for this piece. Thank you, Jane C.!