Bad Navigator

I’m known to have a remarkably bad sense of direction. I can get myself turned around the wrong way while driving a route that I’ve done dozens or even hundreds of times. Something in my brain just doesn’t pick up the visual cues that are supposed to tell me where I am and which way I’m headed.

I once was driving home from work in Fort Collins, Colorado (near the northern border of the state) and I didn’t notice that I had missed my exit until I was almost all the way to Denver. And that’s not the worst: once, while driving west to Tucson, Arizona, I got myself turned around and didn’t notice my error until I saw a sign that said “Welcome to New Mexico.” If I hadn’t noticed that sign, who knows how far east I would have gone. Would Texas have stopped me? Would the Atlantic Ocean have stopped me? (Well, yes, I expect it would have.)

Part of the problem is that getting lost can be fun. You can see new things, and sometimes even discover shortcuts that will get you home faster the next time. I need to make getting lost less enjoyable.

So I’ve adopted a strategy to discipline myself for that sort of misbehavior. You know those flipboards they have in industrial plants that boast about the number of days since the last accident? Well, that’s what the trip odometer in my car now does. It measures the number of miles since the last time I got myself lost. Right now it’s at about 60, but I am determined to get it much higher. Wish me luck!

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