Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How I got very, very lost trying to tick things off my life list

I’ve mentioned before that I am Not Good with maps.

That’s an understatement – I am TERRIBLE. I literally have to highlight the way in the map book and turn it every which way to get to a destination.

(no, I don’t own a GPS and I can’t imagine why I’d want to pay at least 15 times the price of a map book, even with my atrocious map-reading skills, or lack thereof)

So Jeanette (photographer) emailed a Google map to us and I clicked in to ask Google for directions.

Big mistake!

When I read through the directions, they didn’t make sense to me intuitively but it’s Google, after all :)

I set off and at the point where Google stuffed up (Joyce street off Malibongwe), I pulled into a garage to ask directions.

The guy seemed very certain and so I set off following his directions.

Two traffic lights and I’d see the road I was looking for.

He lied.

I drove past six traffic lights and then pulled over to phone Jeanette whose phone was on voicemail.

I retraced my steps and found another garage where I asked another man who was not very helpful.

At that point I got into my car and had a conversation/ argument with myself.

I was so lost, couldn’t find out where I was on the map, nor where I had to go and everything inside of me and I mean everything (except for 10% who has “attend a photography workshop” on my 36 things list) was screaming to just go home.

I didn't care about losing the money, I hate being late, I hate being lost and I was in a terrible mood, “Why me? Why is no one else this useless with directions?”

I may have even shed a tear or two in frustration.

And then I prayed and asked God to PLEASE let SOMEONE in this place know where I need to go.

Jeanette then returned my call.

I had NO idea what she was saying (I don’t know that area AT all) but I dutifully wrote down everything, inside hoping for the best.

And then Dear Philip appeared. He’d probably been filling another car with petrol when I first asked the other useless people.

That was so God. If it was the movies, the music would have changed, etc.

I told him what I was looking for and he said he knew exactly how to get me there.

He told me once, I repeated it to him and then we both repeated the directions together.

I thanked him profusely and I was off. (In the Amazing Race, the Americans usually hug these people and D and I laugh, but now I know why – immense gratitude).

I followed his directions exactly, saw the boat place on the corner which both he and Jeanette mentioned and I drove into the place.

20 minutes late!

For a time management coach!!!!

(to be continued…)

Where are you on the directions scale? 1 is terrible and 10 is "I hardly need a map; I just figure it out as I go"

P.S. I love GOOD directions in words. When people email me, I copy and paste them into a Word doc, enlarge to 20 point, number them (so I can remember I was on number 5) and print. I then keep on the passenger seat next to me. And yes, I have a folder called Directions with all the people who have ever emailed their directions to me and also directions to our house, from all parts of Jhb :)


  1. You are so not the only one who is so lost with maps. I'm a 1. Even with a GPS, I get lost. Yes, lost.

  2. I get lost with GPS too...I'd probably be dead in a ditch somewhere if I had to rely on my brain and a map.

  3. I refuse to get a GPS for the opposite reason - I am actually quite good with directions and don't want to spend all that money on something I can do myself.

    On a scale of 1-10, I'd say I'm a 7/8 - depending on where I am. Like a typical girl, I prefer directions that include landmarks but I do just fine with a regular map. I drove almost the length of California, stopping in a bunch of different places (for work) and just used Mapquest - wrote down the directions of my next stop and drove off. And that was my first time in CA so I really didn't know where I was.

    I attribute my skills to a high school pizza delivery job. This was before the days of GPS or Mapquest, so I just had a little map and a flashlight in the car with me if I got lost!

  4. Please, please do yourself a favour and get a GPS!! Im probably a -1 on your scale and a GPS saved my life many times!

  5. If I can find my old GPS and it works in SA (I'm assuming you can upload new maps) I am so mailing it to you.

    I am great with directions and finding my way. I love to explore and find my way around. That being said, when I am totally lost (as in out of state) I will use my phone. It will tell me where to go for the convenient fee of $1.99!

  6. I have a good sense of direction, so if I have ever been in the area I should be ok. But I use my phone's GPS all the time. Saves me a lot of time.

  7. I'm with Nicole S.--no GPS, and I'm about 7/8, depending on the area. I may not be very good at expressing directions, but I can usually figure out where I am going. When we lived in the "big city", I learned my way around downtown as a runner for a law firm. Now that we are back in my hometown, there is no danger of getting lost unless it's way out in the surrounding mountains or farm areas. When that happens, you either backtrack or keep driving and know you'll come out somewhere familiar eventually! (and pray that you have enough gas to get there!)

  8. I am VERY bad with directions. I really try but somehow always get confused. Maps are just sooooo difficult to read and Google Maps never make sense to me. My husband usually gets directions and simplifies for me. And then he makes me repeat to see if I've understood him. He also redraws the maps so that they are simpler to understand. I asked him to buy me a GPS. He told me that I do have the functionality on my mobile phone. One day when I get a chance then I will check.
    I usually ask for directions at a garage if I'm in a fix. Otherwise I turn around and go home. I don't like to make it obvious that I am lost - I think it is just too dangerous. Once I've driven to a place just once then I'm usually OK for the next time. While I don't have a GPS I am a 2.5.

  9. I think I might be on 1! Hahahaha! Before I had a GPS I used to have the map book, along with written out directions from that, along with whatever directions I got from the person. Getting there usually wasn't the problem, getting back was. I'd inevitably take a left somewhere instead of a right or encounter an unexpected one way and then I was screwed until I hit a highway of some sorts.

    The amount of time I've saved with the GPS and not being lost makes it totally worth it in my opinion.

  10. You're frustration is palpable! I'm frustrated for you!
    Love that you said that you may have shed a tear or two! haha

  11. I love my GPS. It has saved my butt so many times when making the 12 hour drive to see my big kids. When it's just the kids and I driving, I would hate to rely on a map!

  12. I sometimes lose my way coming home from work. Not really. But if it happened I wouldn't be surprised! I need to go somewhere at least 10 times in order to remember the directions, and even then it's sketchy. DH has a GPS. Not a good thing. Tells you to drive straight when there's a wall ahead of you and such things!

  13. Get a GPS!!! I heart my GPS adn Im about a 7 on your scale. Having the GPS makes me that much happier even when I know where Im going!


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