Girls Write Out
Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm directionally-challenged. Have I ever told you that? I can get lost walking to our mailbox. 

One day I went out to get the mail and came home three days later--with a guide dog. If he hadn't come along, I'd still be wandering around the neighborhood. 

I think the Israelites had the same problem.

My husband just can't understand why the concept of North, South, East and West is so hard for me. He tries to give me that whole sun-rises-from-the-East-and-sets-in-the-West thing. Please. As long as the sun comes up and goes down every day, why should I care which side it's on?

I'm good with a map. But here's the thing. If there's a road detour? I'm sunk. One time I went to see my parents who live two hours from me. I was within 15 minutes of their home and had to follow a detour (I did not grow up in that town, just so you know). Well, somewhere along the line, I missed one of the detour signs. Did I mention my parents lived out in the country? Hello? The fields all look alike out there! And just between you and me, I think they're cloning cows now. I couldn't tell one from the other. That two hour trip ended up taking three and a half hours. I would have stopped at a gas station for direction if I could have found one.

At this rate, by the time I'm 80, if I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, they'll never find me again.

Is anyone else directionally-challenged? Please tell me I'm not the only one or my mood will plunge, well, south.

Diann Hunt  
posted at 6:00 AM  
  Comments (30)
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At 11:35 PM, Blogger Ausjenny said...

Oh my, I dont have that problem as much unless im in Launceston. i will go into a shop come out and I always go the wrong way. i even do the ok I think its this way so I will be wrong and yep im still wrong.
But last year in Vancouver we went to the aquarium. simple follow the map hardly turn till we get to Stanley park simple right. 1 hour tops. Ok the other lady in the car has a gps. well Lets say the lady and gps unit were very close to being tossed in the ocean! NO we dont just follow the map we follow the Gps (oh we found a park a playground!) over 2 and a half hours later we arrived. The driver looked at the map where I kept saying go straight dont turn but the gps said turn and said It was so simple why didn't we do that! The trip home took an hour. with only a slight issue getting of the freeway but I saw the sign of a street we needed and got back in the hour. needless to say GPS units and me dont mix (or is it the opperator)

At 6:07 AM, Blogger hotcoffeenow said...

I get lost in little developments. I even get lost in stores. Macy's even. I also have trouble reversing driving directions. On the way up I turned left and then right and then another right, so on the way back I do what????? My husband has a built-in sense of direction. Thankfully.


At 6:57 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Ausjenny, my husband loves the GPS, but it scares me. I never trust a voice I can't see. :-)

Yes, Linda! I get lost in stores too! And you're right, reverse directions--the worst!

You know, I'm driving two hours from home today to a place I've never driven. If I don't blog next week, you'll know I'm still circling the cornfields.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

Thats me!!! My husband can't understand how I can't know where north is naturally. I don't get how he can KNOW. It makes no sense to me. I understand the store thing as well. I am teaching in a building that goes in a circle. Put me in a room inside the circle and I have to really think when I come out which side of the circle my room is on. It is really bad. I do rely heavily on gps now. My husband is the one who doesnt think it works. I trust it with my life, literally! I am afraid to travel very far because of my fear of getting lost and not knowing how to get home. It is helping me overcome that fear some. I am more confident to travel a bit farther and to new places.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

I can't admit I'm directionally challenged bc that would severely damage my fragile ego. Unlike the typical husband/wife scenario, we flip flopped roles. My husband, the minute he's questioning a direction, stops and asks and gets back on course. The minute I start questioning, I convince myself that even an idiot could figure this out and refuse to consider the benefits of a gas station, map, gps, or cell phone. So I'm not really directionally challenged, so to say, I just challenge myself directionally.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

*raises hand* Directionally challenged here too. At least here in the Midwest where there are no hills to uses as a reference point. All those cornfields look the same.

I got lost when we first moved here. Was taking my daughter to a field trip with school and I followed the wrong field trip (two field trips on the same day--different grades) and ended up at a mall. My husband and the church secretary figured out where I was and with the magic of MapQuest, guided me to the right place.

Shortly after that we bought a car with built in GPS.

But all's well that ends well. Next week we're moving back to PA where I will let the hills guide me! LOL

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Oh, good I'm not alone!!! Jaime, that's too funny!!

I got lost in the country once, and as Suzanne said, all those cornfields look alike. I finally ended up in another town altogether. I mean, it wasn't like I could stop and ask a cow for directions. But if the could talk, I'm sure they were having fun watching me go by over and over.

"Oh, look, there she goes again!" Clara Bell said between bites of grass, bells jangling. :-)

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I'm totally directionally challenged! I love my GPS but it can't help me remember where I'm parked. LOL I've found I have to park in the same row at Wal-mart or I wander the parking lot for hours.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger undoubtably_me said...

Oh, me! me! This is a huge joke in my family -- my dad even brought it up at our wedding! And yes, I also have the husband with the built-in compass who shakes his head at me. But my theory is this: if I get lost the first time I go to a new place, I will always remember that and so I'll never do it again! I'm a whiz with malls though, always know where to go and how to get out of the big department stores.

We're going up to the cottage this weekend, and guess who's driving? Not me. :)

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Yeah, I'm not one of those challenged by directions. In fact, I've never been lost. Even when I've been off the path through a detour or wrong turn, I use my instincts, take a few turns and I'm back on track. Usually, I get to see some nice sights along the way too. :)

But my mother? She could be going to Florida and end up in Maine. LOL! She doesn't do the long-distance driving much, and if she does, Dad or a navigator is right there with a map to guide her.

When I first moved to Colorado, with their wacky road systems and winding roads that change names partway on it, then change back as you go further, I was a little disconcerted...but not lost. Hubby teased me because I had always told him I have a great sense of direction (inherited from Dad).

Now? I'm better than he is, and he's lived here most of his life!

Oh, and for reference point, the mountains are almost always to the west. LOL! Could never live in the midwest or central US where it's all flat. No thanks. I might actually have to surrender my directional prowess then. :)

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Rachel Overton said...

Oh, Diann.

Trust the GPS. We call ours "Miss Know-It-All." She's wonderful. Of course, if you don't listen to her enough times in a row, she'll get mad at you and send you to the other side of town...long story. My husband will follow her so far and then decide he can get there the rest of the way, but he doesn't turn her off. So when he decides this road will be quicker and she has to recalculate and recalculate and recalculate...she's not too happy.

But if you listen to her, she's marvelous! :-)

I'm kind of in between. I've only been completely lost once that I can remember (and that was in Cleveland--I'm a country girl; cities blow my mind!). But my husband?

He grew up in the mountains in TN, and he and his sister, to avoid boredom, I guess, would get in the car. One would be blindfolded, and the other would drive somewhere they'd never been. Then the blindfolded one would have to get them home. It is impossible to get my husband lost if he's in a car.

Put him in a furniture store (lots of little rooms like a maze), and he will hyperventilate trying to figure out how to escape. Too funny!

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Melinda said...

I'm directionally challenged. And I passed the gene on to 2 of my 4 children. Poor things. Streets & Trips is my friend. I can find my way anywhere with the driving directions I print out. My youngest son has GPS on his phone. He still gets lost though.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Deena said...

I get lost in the dr.'s office:0) And I've lived in the same area for my entire life, yet if I veer from the familiar, my kids have to help me navigate.

Oh, and did I mention I'm a college grad who has to deeply think about which is my right and which is my left? If my husband asks me, "Which way do I turn?" I bang on my window if it's one way, and wave at his nose if it's the other...he finds this hilarious...

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Beverly said...


When I was in college, I found a different route to my brother's house every time I went over the course of four years. Believe me, it wasn't intentional! But, I alway mede it!

I prefer to think of myself as an expert in finding my way back home...somehow. It's all in keeping a sense of humor and deep breathing. And keeping a full tank of gas!

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Gracie said...

I have selectional directional disability (SDD), much like my selective memory. I won't lose my place in a bookstore, but in a mall? I can turn around and forget where any of the twelve doors are. Grocery stores will or won't get me lost depending on the size: big -- lost, small -- chocolate!

The funniest time when my SDD kicked in was when my dad and I were driving to a Christian bookstore. I'd told him that it was across the street from a Barnes and Noble. So when I instructed him to turn left on a certain street, he replied, "But you said it was across the street from B&N."

"Yeah, it is," I said, confused.

"But this street is two blocks from the Barnes and Noble."

"It's still across the street. Maybe not directly, but still..."

Now I drive to bookstores with my mom. She may not linger with me among the novels for hours, but at least she understands my directional disabilities.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

I knew we were kindred spirits Diann! Yeah, I'm an expert in getting lost, and I've come to believe the GPS was created for me. Hard to believe I haven't sprung for one yet.

And cloning cows, ha. Good one.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Katy McKenna said...

You are in good company!

If I am put in charge of the map on a road trip, when my husband turns the car, I TURN THE MAP. So, if we are now going west, the map has to be pointed west, straight out the windshield.

I'm not sure, but I think that's wrong. :)

Katy McKenna

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Chelf said...

I suppose I am directionally challenged in a way. I don't do North South East West, I do Right Left Landmark. I am very visual, not abstract.

My DH is a virtual walking atlas, while I am the dictionary. I can navigate, but only with a map, and a previously plotted course.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Ausjenny said...

Tiff, here its the mountains are to the east! we are in a flat area but I do know where north is normally and hey moss grows on the south side of the tree (In australia). Or course our town is slightly out with many roads and that can get slightly confusing. I am a map reader also. but put me in a car it may be different I dont drive.
And of course in Canada i have to remember cars come from the left not the right if i dont want to be squished!

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I'm ok at reading a map but I can get lost easily if I'm in completely unfamiliar territory. But I think I am emotionally scarred from riding with my parents through Pittsburgh when I was a child and we would visit my mom's family. Sorry, this is long.

My mom has an excellent *sense* of direction. However, she does not know her right from her left. She was a truck driver's daughter and loves to drive and try out new roads and has even been known to follow complete strangers out of traffic jams because they "look like they know where they're going." And it worked!

My dad does not have a good sense of direction, but he always insists on driving, I think because he's scared where my mom might take them as she explores. Also, he cannot turn if there is any noise whatsoever in the vehicle. He becomes at once angry and paralyzed.

The combination often resulted in a freeway version of "Who's On First."

"Jim. At the next stoplight turn left." Traffic rushes by on either side and my dad yells for silence in the backseat as he edges his way into the left turning lane.

"Right." My mother states.

Dad makes a sharp turn into the right lane, causing three children to scream as we narrowly miss collision with a semi-truck.

"Right! Right!" Mom yells while her left hand points in the other direction.

Dad is not looking at her hand. He's listening to what she says while he cuts sharply into the right turning lane and rounds the corner.

"Jim, I said go right." Mom is still pointing to the road we should have taken which is now a quarter of a mile behind us.

"I did go right."

"No you didn't"

"Jan, which way is right?"

Mom thinks for a moment, looks at her hands, and then points to the left.


"I meant my right. You know better than to listen to my mouth. How many times do I have to tell you, watch my hands."

"I can't watch your hands and the road. I swear, one of these days I'm getting the words Right and Left tattooed on your hands."

Mom ignores that barb. She's heard it before. "Well you'll have to turn around. We're heading into the inner-city."

Turn around? No, anything but that.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Oh, my goodness, Sarah, that is too funny!!

Sounds as though GPS is the answer. We have a portable one, so I guess I'll have to learn to use it. Sigh. Remember, I'm also technologically-challenged.

On a brighter note, I drove to a new place two hours from home last night, mapped my course, and didn't so much as turn down a wrong road once! Whoohooo!! Not only that, but the place where I went to give a talk? They gave me chocolate!!!

What a great day!

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Kay Day said...

Tiff is right about Colorado roads, although my hometown has pretty much straight N-S and E- W roads.
The thing is, we have mountains! The mountains are to the west (unless you live on the other side, of course). There is a continuoul navigational aid!

But even when I'm on the flatlands, I have a pretty good internal compass. Not perfect, though and it feel weird when it lets me down. I guess it's called disoriented for a reason.

My problem comes when I go in a store like Target or Walmart in an area I'm not used to. I will get turned around according to the store I'm familiar with - then when I come out the mountains are in the wrong place!

My sister is really challenged - my mom, too. I'm always having to straighten them out.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

I'm completely directionally-challenged.
My husband knows to use landmarks, not N, W, S or E. For some reason, it just won't compute in my head.
I'm so with you, girl.

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

That's hilarious but I'm with you! I was raised in Southern California, where you have the ocean on the west and a huge mountain range on the east. You couldn't get lost.

Then I moved to Atlanta. The roads here are old cow paths that they paved. I missed a turn and tried to go around the block. I ended up in Tennessee.

My husband gave me that sunrise and sunset business. But what help does that give me at noon?

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

"Then I moved to Atlanta. The roads here are old cow paths that they paved. I missed a turn and tried to go around the block. I ended up in Tennessee."

Oh my goodness, that just cracked me up, Ane!!!!

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Now I'm worried!!!!! I'm taking Colleen to meet Diann to go to a book signing tomorrow. I'm not sure which one is driving to the signing but at this point does it really matter? If Colleen drives I don't think there is a Wal-mart close enough to park at so she can find our car. Then there is the problem that we have only had this car a couple weeks so see will be looking for the van. If Diann drives will they even get there. LOL

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

ROTFLOL, Dave!!! If I drive, we could end up back in Wabash. At the Walmart. Looking for our car. :-)

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Lisa said...


Don't trust that GPS lady. She's always telling us to turn down the wrong streets, and tells us we've passed a turn after we've already made the correct turn. GPS is more annoying than a map. Have you tried Map Questing your directions? Always manage to get to where I'm going with that. You need to use the computer, though. Would that be a problem? ;-) Plus, the voice for the GPS woman is too sedated for me. It's like she's in a Xanax induced coma. Very creepy!

Just follow your nose. The smell of chocolate will get you there every time.


At 6:57 AM, Blogger Ausjenny said...

Lisa thats what happened in vancouver. it was a man talking english at that. but part of our issue was the programmer. I was reading the map and telling the driver where to go and as we need to turn the gps programmer snatched it out of my hands to try and find the address where we were going meanwhile we had to work out where to turn. I get carsick at a drop of a hat (I feel sick but not physically sick normally) and the lady with the gps had the nerve to start saying from looking down and programming the gps she was feeling sick too. Have to say she got no sympathy. Moral is make sure you have the address before you start off using a gps. Cos the park it took us too was a playground and a tiny one at that.

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Beth said...

I don't really have a problem with direction - unless it's in the dark, on unfamiliar roads. Or when I get off at a different train station than I'm used to.
I don't like GPS things much. My friend has one on her phone, and we were using it to get us from an unfamiliar spot, but once I knew where I was, it kept telling me to turn off and go a different way. I knew where I was going and what road I wanted to take, so I ignored it, but if I hadn't known where I was going ... who knows where we would have ended up!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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