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LJ Idol week 1: Here There Be Dragons

My sense of direction is not good.  Apparently I inherited this from my grandmother who was known to drive up to 45 minutes in the wrong direction before noticing she was in the wrong place.  I’ve always envied the people who can drive to a new place and then just know how to get there, but that’s never been me.  I need a lot of time in an area before I get the layout in my head.  Usually this happens gradually; I slowly look at the directions I’ve printed out less and less and finally one day leave without checking Google maps first.  But once it was different.

Several years ago I was travelling to downtown San Jose on a regular basis.  The half-marathon I had run for the past three years started there, several theatre companies whose shows I saw regularly performed there, and that’s where my tattoo artist was based.  But every time I went to San Jose I had to print out directions to the specific place I was going.  I was starting to recognize the routes I took regularly, but only if I stayed on the path.

Then my tattoo artist, Ron, changed locations.  The group of people who had founded the tattoo shop got into a fight about the general direction of their work, so they split.  (I do kind of adore that they take what they do so seriously.)  One group stayed at the shop I knew and could find, but Ron was part of the group that was looking for new space.  The schism group didn’t want to go far; after all they had clients booked out for months.  So they found a space about six blocks from the original location and set up shop.  I got a call telling me that my final appointment would be in this new space.

I dutifully printed out directions and found the new shop.  On my way there I passed by one of the theatres I regularly attended.  And when I looked at the directions home (I tend to print out both there and back when I’m going to a downtown area, one way streets are a bitch) I realized that I would pass another theatre and the old tattoo shop on my way out of town.  Suddenly, blindingly, I got downtown San Jose.

The places I had been visiting regularly all inter-related.  I knew that I could walk from point A to B with confidence, the street numbering and layout made sense, even the park in the middle of downtown that meant several streets don’t go where you think they do could no longer defeat me.  In an instant I slayed the dragon of downtown San Jose and filled in the blank spaces on my mental map.  It was amazing.

I’ve never had a realization of anything just snap into my brain like that before, or since.  But that day, standing on a sidewalk outside a café, I just knew.  For a brief moment, I was a woman with direction.


@@@This is my entry for week 1 of LJ Idol – we had two topics to pick from and I chose “here there be dragons”.  I'll post a link to the poll once it is up, thank you for reading.@@@

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Ahh, I'm so glad you are doing this again! I love reading your entries, and this one was great!

I am a directions person though so it is interesting to see how the other half lives ;)

I am a directions person though so it is interesting to see how the other half lives ;)

I second this. :)

I envy you direction people. There are places I've been too dozens of times that can still defeat me.

Thanks, it's always nice to know that the folks on my flist from before this contest aren't rolling their eyes at reading more from me.

I wish I were a directions person, but it's not ever going to happen. The pocket on the inside of the driver door is where I keep all the printed out directions of the places I am likely to go again.

Apparently I inherited this from my grandmother who was known to drive up to 45 minutes in the wrong direction before noticing she was in the wrong place.

Apparently, I'm related to your grandmother as well, because I'm quite capable of doing the exact same thing, lol.

It's amazing when something 'clicks' like that, isn't it? I wish it happened more often than it does. :)

My problem is I'll suddenly freak out I'm doing it wrong and turn around too soon instead of going past a place.

That click was awesome, I too wish a few more things would do that.

I've often wondered why certain people have a better sense of direction than others. Mine is pretty good, but my husband's is AWFUL.

I don't really know. I was never as excited to drive places as my brother was when we each got our licenses and he's got much better direction than I do. But that's a whole chicken and egg thing, hard to tell if it's cause or effect.

It's good that people pair up with opposites about this though, my boyfriend's direction is much better than mine.

My family was also cursed with a wrong sense of direction... glad you got past it!

Some folks in my family do okay, but a lot of us are in the same boat. Luckily I did get crazy map-reading skills.

Here is a fun fact about me. I am dyslexic but my sense of direction is legendary. I can find my way in and out of places with just visual cues. And I drive others up the wall because I can't tell them how to get anywhere but I can get there.

Well done as usual and I am so glad you are doing this again.

I've met people with a sense of direction like yours before, they can get anywhere you ask if they're driving, but if you want them to write down directions forget it. It's interesting to see how many different ways different folks adapt to the same issues.

Thanks! I'm horribly behind on reading but glad to be getting back into the swing of things.

I enjoyed this entry and your style of writing. It was easy to read and enjoyable.

Hey I travel to downtown San Jose on a fairly regular basis too- for work : ). My sense of direction is worse when driving. I always take the wrong turns : (.

I can get lost on foot, though luckily it's usually easier to untangle since you haven't gotten as far. Having moved a little further north I'm in SJ less often these days, but I do like that downtown area.

Aaah this is somehow adorable *grins*.

Thanks. I was finally able to throw out all of my overly-creased pieces of paper about downtown SJ. Now San Francisco...

Those little realizations that just hit.. one of the best feelings in the world. =D

Welcome back, Beeker! =D

It was so empowering in that moment to just know.

Thanks - it's great to see you back too!

I loved hearing about this 'Aha! moment" for you.
Don't ya just love it?

I only wish I could have them more often.

Maybe the Universe keeps them infrequent so we can appreciate them more...Aha! :)

lol... you totally sound like pixiebelle as far as directions go. lol... It's good to have direction though! Good on ya!

It's a fabulous thing to feel like you know where you're going and how to get there. Unfortunately, I'm directionally challenged, so can relate to what you've written about always needing to consult some kind of printed directions before leaving home.

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