Just below the collarbone, fear is sitting, all a-stir, wondering should it leap out through your voice. “What street is this?” “How did I get here?”
Pay attention. Think.
You’re driving home from work. You’re only driving home from work. There was a detour. You know this street. Just find the sign. Remember.
You have lived here twenty years. You have driven down Lake Drive. It intersects with Hall Street. somewhere. somewhere.
There it is! A corner! Green street signs: Lake Dr., Breton.
And you do not know which way to turn. Left. It must be left.
On you go, and NO! Breton now should come to Hall Street. Lake Drive should have come to Hall Street. When and where does Lake Drive come to Hall Street? somewhere. somewhere.
This is Reeds Lake now, and I am lost in East Grand Rapids, and I know my home is OVER THERE — somewhere. somewhere.
Backtrack now, okay, there’s Breton. Should have turned the other way. Which way, now, would be the other way?
Finally! Oh, finally. I see a landmark, and it isn’t backwards. I can place the billion times I’ve passed here, now.
I’m sure which way is Hall from here, at last.
I was less than a mile from my home, on roads, every one of them, that I’ve traveled every day. But not this way.
Have I described sufficiently how it feels to be “directionally challenged” as I call it?
I’m extremely intelligent, even creative. I have a good sense of direction in a lonely place where I can see the sun, the stars or the sky.
In my own home town I must be very careful to pay attention, or I will not find my way. I take the same route every day. To keep from getting bewildered. I never do get lost. I am smart enough to compensate. And I never let the fear rise any higher than my collarbone.
In a strange city, I just follow a map; and that is very easy for me to do.
But I cannot, absolutely cannot, describe for you the route I travel. I do not see the landmarks. Not in relation to each other, anyway. I know where some things are. Heck, I guess I know where a lot of things are. But not in relation to each other.