Thursday, 4 June 2009

Tickle Me Pink

Its like this. I get lost easily. Not in a figurative type of sense, wait, that too. But literally. Really and absolutely. It makes for many funny stories about me, but overall its quite an annoying thing. I can never get myself from point A to point B with any degree of confidence or certainty. But I must say though that while my location is up for grabs, my speed is good. So take that you slow walkers and dawdlers.

The trouble was diagnosed fairly early in life. My sister used to make enormous fun of me because I could literally get lost in going from home (on 6th main) to grandma's (on 13th main; on a straight road out). I finally found a way to get between these two places (and school, and music class, and sanskrit class, and BFF's house, and, of course cavitha circulating center cum library), by taking the same route over and over and over again with my sister and, well, CTM (Commit To Memory. Usually occurs with a small hand on the side in MBD Guide Books and their ilk). To test me, she would start out on another route to the same place and ask me, 'So tell me, which way to turn now?' - I would frankly admit that I had no clue whatsoever. But my sister had her fun I suppose.

In adulthood, the situation is no better. In fact, I would say its worse. I am living in bigger cities for one. Try as one might, its hard to get lost in Mysore (though I have achieved that feat several several times). There is all the crap with flyovers and construction and one-ways, for another. Guaranteed to fox even an internally GPS-ed individual, such as my husband (per his own claim). He is most unaccomodating of this feature of mine, though I have tried to play it as a possible medical condition, he thinks its just because I dont have a penis. This problem gets convoluted with my driving abhorrence and its a big muddle and mess and the source of many fights and arguments.

Of course you might hasten to think, this attitude of my closest has probably worsened the situation. But I will stoutly deny that. I am stronger than that. I will not allow the power of suggestion by them to take over my life. No, I will not, and have not. Heck who am I kidding. You two are at fault guys. Its not me, its them.

I have independently (without jeers jaunts and yelling) contemplated the situation in my own head. It cannot be a general dumbness or lack of intelligence. My IQ is quite high, I mean, it has always been (of course I have tested it many times, in proper pen and paper format when young and on those fake online sites now in computer age). I can feel the neurons connecting, when, say, I am at work. I have several constructive suggestions to people when they approach with issues not necessarily in Chemical Engineering. I manage to hold my head high and answer the monster's innumerable queries with confidence, I rock in interviews and exams and sudoku and what not. I suppose these things mean I am not an idiot. Heck. I know I am not an idiot. Quantified and certified. But my eyes do glaze over when people talk about money and mortgages and the SENSEX and interest rates. (zzzzzz). There is that. Hmmm.

Anyway this is a different, albeit persistent problem. However, I do well when reading maps, which means I don't have dysgraphia, really. I take a bit of time in orienting myself in a map (might just be a natural average amount of time, not sure how you all operate), but once I am on, and I have no distractions, I can navigate well. I have pored over miles and miles of US maps back in the day and except for one unfortunate Orlando trip where I made the driver (oops, husband) take four or five U-turns, I have been a rock-solid, reliable navigator. Or navigationalist, as I prefer to call myself. Hand me a sextant mateys.

So anyway to cut a long story short, I think google maps is awesome. In some ways its perfect for me. Armed with it, I never need to know the way to anywhere a-priori. Just have to follow the 'dot' . Apart from a few errors which are obvious if you research a bit, it has been really, a lot of fun and quite a life-saver in the past month. I don't have it on my phone (though I am contemplating an upgrade to the dreaded and most hated device of all; sell my soul to the devil why don't I along with it). So I sneak up on the driver(oops, husband)'s 'device' and try to figure it out. Or else, I do what every geek worth her salt would, I do my homework well in advance. I use googlemaps on my desktop, write down the salient points in my notebook (they would go clear out of my head if I tried to remember); talk to enough local people (i.e. auto drivers) to know what to call what and how best to provide crisp directions, find out phone number of place I intend to visit, harass them and ask them for nearby landmarks, and, unashamedly pay extra if I have mistaken something they said.

Thus I have found, on my own (with just a little bit of help from the internet and the phone and the blackberry dot and simply by paying auto drivers whatever they ask for, which is never within reason):
1. Nearby grocery store, and am 1/2 on this (meaning went twice got lost once but eventually found it Rs.40 later).
2. Gas Cylinder stores (Both Govt. and Private), and, though I stressed a bit about it, I did not get lost getting there a second time.
3. Nilgiris and Ambika Appalam branches in nearby areas (merely for future reference).
4. Bus Ticket place in two nearby areas (yeah am leaving tomorrow on a weekend trip).
5. Crossword & Landmark stores (for gift type things and well, you know, could not resist a few myself).
6. E-zone (per WJ's advice, bought a new hob since piped gas thingies).
7. Bata (school!!!).
8. Sugan uniforms (2/3 on this - got lost once) in Pondy Bazaar (reputed and only approved supplier)
9. Kesavan Tailors in Nadhamuni St. (the pinafore is BELOW the knee, horrid).
More pertinently, I am now confidently rolling off my tongue, TTK Road and Venkatnarayana Road and Nandanam Signal and heck, even Venkatesan Road. For now I can get to those places as well. Knowing me, I will forget everything in about a days time, and that is when I really hope my newly discovered crutches (and notes thereof) will help.

And meanwhile, what I find is that in case you possess a penis (or are a woman unknown to my husband but possessed with superior direction sense - my sister thinks she does have such sense but there have not been situations enough for my husband to comment on this matter, and, since he has gotten lost enough times in getting to her place in New Jersey, and vice versa when she visits me in Mumbai, they don't like to talk much about this matter to each other), then this whole GPS business is actually a bad thing for you. Because it makes you get out of the habit of having mental images of places and routes and makes you rely on following a dot (or listening to gawd awful peremptory TURN LEFT IN 3 METRES type commands - heavens what IS that they affix on unsuspecting cars), and eventually, over the years, will dumb you down. I, meanwhile, will be waiting to get my revenge, beware.


choxbox said...

actually whats the point of going from A to B when you can do it via C or D & E?! yay to you in any case.

dipali said...

Ah! I claim to have a decent sense of direction- definitely better than that of the husband, hence I am the family 'nagivator'. I love maps, like looking out for landmarks, and knowing where I am in a city. But a recent trip to a cousin's new place threw me, because the simple route she had told us suddenly turned into a one way street which we were heading into until the traffic cop halted us. He let us off when we pleaded ignorance, but I was most abashed. And, sadly, the husband now assumes that i should be knowing all possible routes in this city, which not only has several one way streets (Chennai does too), but one ways which change direction at 1p.m. every day. Sheesh. What can a poor nagivator do? No wonder Kolkata doesn't have GPS yet!

Space Bar said...

apparently you don't have iron in the tip of your nose.

i seem to have missed hajaar posts!

Vanessa said...

LOL nice post
we are similar in quite a few things.
I too have an awful sense of direction.
You know what, in Mumbai, there's this funda of east and west which still confuses me.
After getting on the railway bridge, i am at loss as to which direction i should turn.
I can figure it out during the day. I actually look at the sun and depending on time of the day, figure out east and west.
Am in stone-age with that regard. :)

Anonymous said...

I hate it when people tell me go west of X street and then turn south. Tell me just to turn freaking left or right from my position.

I am horrible if I went to the place and my dh drove. I completely ignore exits and landmarks. I am very good direction giver though..

wordjunkie said...

Whatever happened to good ol' 'stop people and ask for directions'? I've used it all the time, especially in warrens like T Nagar and old Adyar.Usually scares people enough for the streets to realign themselves and get me off of them.