Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Which I Realize How Much I Need To Know Basic Life Skills

Most people who meet me are surprised to learn that I am the youngest of six, since I am the one that "takes care of things" and "is so organized." Until they drive with me somewhere, and I can't remember where we parked. I became an aunt at the age of 11, and so I have been trained to be responsible in many senses, but when it comes to stuff like remembering where I parked or how to get somewhere, I am hopeless. It is the result of having been taken everywhere all throughout my childhoood and teen years (and even adulthood, although I now drive the kids places and write down where I parked).

Being ferried everywhere breeds geographic idiocy: I don't know where anything is. That my adulthood is being spent in intensive academic programs is another blow to that, since I for the most part only go to school, and only a few buildings on the campus. If not for the mountains or ocean always being where it should be, I imagine I would be even more lost. Being in a landlocked state terrifies me for that reason. I don't have a good sense of direction to begin with, and getting to driving age in the age of Mapquest and Yahoo and Google Maps has made it so that I am incredibly lazy about opening up a AAA map and figuring out how to get from point A to point B.

Now that I no longer drive at all (the Belle-Mobile is at my parents' house), it is tougher--the costs for getting lost are greater on foot, esp. in the dark. It is easy to get lost in a car and just figure on making a couple of rights until you get back on the grid, or take an exit and hop back on the freeway. On foot, this is a laborious undertaking, and though I can walk through most road blocks, I cannot spare myself getting tired, and it is scarier being lost in the open.

Relying on Google Maps is not always best for those on foot! I wanted to run to a nearby lake yesterday, and Google told me to run up into the hills of this super bourgie neighborhood where everyone was remodeling using eco-friendly design firms and everyone had fruit trees I wanted to steal from. That was a tiring, mostly uphill 5 mile jog. TD took me later by car. I was sort of headed in the right direction, except that the directions took me above the lake. Tomorrow, I try again.

So, lesson of the day for myself, and to you and for your future children: open a map, and learn how to read one.