Saturday, November 22, 2008


Last week I got a fine. A painful one. I deserved it because I really did something forbidden followed by something stupid. I drove against traffic, if you really need to know. No, not on a busy multi-lane highway, just a small dirt road, but still. Why did I do that? I plead guilty with an explanation, even a confession.

I am orientation challenged - the politically correct term for a person who cannot find her way out of a paper bag. It is difficult for me to navigate, especially in the dark. Every time I have a feeling I have to turn left, I should actually turn right. Even ways to places I drove to several times before, confuse me. The smallest deviation from directions and I'm lost. Here, I did it, I'm out of the orientation closet. You can now laugh or applause.
I was invited to dinner in a nearby town, to a restaurant on a street I know, I've been there many times before. It's the first street to the left, piece of cake, no need for directions. When I'm about to turn left I notice there is no left turn there anymore, I keep driving straight. I decide to keep going until I can make a U turn, return to the same junction, and turn right. Why? Because it seems safer than making 3 lefts and get lost in the dark. Back at the same junction I discover there is no right either, it's a one-way street! I drive straight again, towards the exit from the town. Despaired, I get a flashback about having the same surprise a few months back and the way I solved it: by driving a few meters into a one-way dirt road, against traffic. Relieved, I do the same (forbidden), but this time I continue beyond the first few meters in the false hope of finding a parking spot (stupid). What I find instead is a police officer who requests my driver's license.
Is this problem of mine (and of many other men and women) a genetic deficiency? A particular type of dyslexia? A side effect of my cotton-wool upbringing? Can it be ameliorated by practice? I don't know.

The fine, however, is about half the price of a GPS.

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