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I’ve got a shameful secret. I am awful with directions.
Awful doesn’t even really convey how terrible I am with directions. If I stood next to my bed and had directions to my bedroom door, I would end up in my closet. If I was Columbus, I would have discovered the Artic. If I was George Washington leading his men across the Potomac River, I would have ended up in the Gulf of Mexico.
My failure to get from point A to point B has afflicted me since I went to college. Before that, I could get anywhere I wanted to, never getting lost. I might take my time and sightsee, but I would never be lost.
But once I got to college, it’s like my sense of direction retired and moved to Florida. It’s funny when I look back on it, but I can’t truly communicate how terrible I am by just saying I’m bad.
It’s not that I’m bad with directions. I can navigate someone if I’m not driving. I can get us where we’re going. But as soon as I sit behind the wheel, my brain shuts off. Here is a laundry list of times when I didn’t have a clue, not to mention a sense of direction.
When I started college, I had to travel from Tennessee to South Carolina. I had made the trip one or two times, but when I was traveling back to school after a weekend at home, I missed converging onto another highway and drove halfway across North Carolina before the thought dawned on me that it was taking forever. To add to my failure, I was running out of gas and it was the middle of the night. I had to backtrack an hour and a half before I was back on course.
Later on in my freshman year, my fraternity held its formal in Savannah. To get to the formal from the hotel took about five minutes if I had taken a right out of the hotel parking lot. Instead, I thought I had heard to take a left and ended up two hours late for dinner. Needless to say, my fraternity brother and our dates were not amused.
Sophomore year came and my mistakes kept coming. What is the most frustrating part is that the next year, we went back to Savannah for our formal. I thought I had everything set, but once again, I failed as a driver.
When junior year started, I figured that I had a plan that would work. If I went anywhere for anything, I would get directions. But a new problem arose. I doubted myself, even with directions. I would read them and then worry that I had passed my turn. I would double back, hoping to figure out the directions. Looking back, I cost myself hours and hours of driving and way too much gas doubting myself.
Now, I drive all over Kentucky for the Grant County News. I can’t tell you how easy it is to get lost here. With back roads and country roads comes a whole new set of obstacles. Have I passed the flashing yellow light? What if the store I’m supposed to turn at is closed? What if I’m an idiot?
That last question has passed through my head more than once. It’s probably passed through the heads of those that are reading this right now. But I’m working to get better.
Instead of relying on Mapquest or Google maps or any other computer directions, I’ve found it’s best to ask the people that have lived here for most of their lives. I’ve learned to trust that if I just keep going a little further, I’ll find the turn.
But the doubt keeps coming back and that’s the most frustrating part. Heading to Bourbon County for a soccer game, I had directions to take a left at a stoplight. It was night and I was in a hurry to get to the game. So when I had passed a flashing light, the doubt crept back in. Should I have turned there? For five minutes, I asked myself that question before I turned around and took, of course, a turn I never should have taken. Part of the way to Harrison County, I decided this was not the right decision.
If I had gone five minutes further, I would have been in Bourbon County.
So here’s hoping the doubt will go away and that I can get out of my own way when I need to get somewhere. I guess I’m the reason they created machines with GPS technology.
(Ryan Naus is the sports writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at 824-3343 or by e-mail at email@example.com.)