Okay, this post has nothing to do with my author life. It DOES have to do with a little known psychological condition from which I suffer. It’s called: “ABSOLUTELY-NO-DAMN-SENSE-OF-DIRECTION-SYNDROME,” and to me, it’s as real as the bad taste you get when drinking milk after brushing your teeth. (Trust me, don’t do it!)
I am not kidding folks. I am heinously bad at knowing where I am going. For example:
- I walk out of a familiar department store bathroom and ponder which direction to turn. “Do I go left? Right?” Next thing I know, I am looking at mattresses and draperies, asking an employee how to get to the shoe department, where I came from in the first place. At least my hands are clean.
- I cannot drive anywhere further than ten miles from home without the GPS. And these are places I have been to MANY times. “Which exit do I take?” “Which way do I turn when I get to the light?” “Do I recognize this gas station? I think so… Then again, maybe I don’t.” “Yeah! This school looks familiar. I’ve driven past this school before. Haven’t I?” My breath becomes choppy, a light sweat covers my forehead and upper lip, my mouth’s dried out, and I need to pee. And guess what? Once I’ve gotten there, I have no freakin’ idea how to get back. I cannot retrace my steps to save my life!
- Being tied to my chair and forced to watch CATS on the big screen a thousand times over would be better than my experiences with…(imagine scary sounding music)… parking garages. “Which floor did I park on?” “Should I push the 1 for the first floor or the L for Lobby? OMG! Which one is it? 1 or L? Oh, right! I took a picture on my phone of the floor number. I even took a picture of the parking space number. But oh, holy mother of the Big Compass in the Sky, which way do I go when the elevator door opens?”
- Looking over a sea of cars in large outdoor parking lots is the equivalent of having my fingernails pulled out with pliers. “Where did I park? Oh, there’s a tree. Yippee! I parked by a tree! But, wait. There’s another tree. Hell’s bells–there are three, four, five, six trees! Stupid trees!”
- Zoos! “I found my way to the cheetahs alright, but I’ve been wandering around for an hour now looking for the exit, and I’m at the penguin sanctuary for the fourth time.” Nightfall is setting in. Vultures are circling overhead.
- Recently, my father, who lives in another city, sat in the passenger seat when I drove him to the local Costco, and of course, he had to direct me, one step at a time. The next day, my mother asked me to go back and return something, and it was like I’d never been there before. My brain must have gotten wiped while I was sleeping by international bad guys named Big Dog and Igor with yellow teeth and cheap pinstriped suits.
- Maps! Eeeewwww! Nasty! Evil! Just looking at a map makes my blood pressure soar. I swear that maps around the world have been conspiring against me to tangle my brain matter into knots like an old necklace that’s been lost in a drawer for a decade. Please, I beg of you, don’t ever ask me to find something on a map!
Thank goodness I have patient friends and family who understand that I’m suffering from this terrible condition and help me out when we’re together.
IMPORTANT: If I’m alone and late for something, I’m probably wandering around a parking lot, losing hope of ever seeing my loved ones again, sleeping on the ground in some corner by a janitorial supply closet and wasting away but not before cursing the Big Compass in the Sky.
The journal Neuropsychologia calls it “developmental topographic disorientation.” I like ABSOUTELY-NO-DAMN-SENSE-OF-DIRECTION-SYNDROME” better. That describes me to a “T.”