As far back as I can remember, I’ve been directionally challenged. As a young boy, I would write in the air with my right hand to determine left from right. To this day, I occasionally catch myself holding an imaginary pencil in my right hand when told to look, turn, or face right or left.
I recently learned that being directionally challenged is sometimes tied to dyslexia. I’ve never been officially diagnosed as being dyslexic. But I have taken online quizzes with titles such as “Do I Have Dyslexia?” My test scores always indicate that I should “Consider seeking consultation from a specialist or a formal diagnostic assessment from a qualified examiner.”
I didn’t learn to read until the third grade, and then only because my parents spent nearly every night helping me learn. In my head, the letters were all jumbled up. It was hard to make sense of them.
When I was a junior in high school, I rode my Kawasaki 350 to the practice football field on a weeknight for a pickup football game. After the game, as the sun was setting, I left the school and turned south instead of north towards home. I ended up in a small town about 10 miles south of the school. I had been riding 20 minutes in the wrong direction without a clue. When I arrived home, my parents asked why I was late. So, I told them. They laughed. My family still shares the story.
Forty years ago, I worked for a home remodeling company. I would drive to residences and give estimates. Finding a home in Indianapolis was no problem. I became proficient at reading a map. To this day, I know what hundred block most major streets in Indy run. For example, Lynhurst drive runs north and south at 5100 west.
However, when I had an appointment out in the country, it was a different ballgame. Our scheduling department understood my challenge and did an excellent job of obtaining accurate directions.
My favorite was a farm in the middle of nowhere. My directions used several landmarks, including turning right at the rock that looks like an Indian. What? How can a rock look like an Indian? I didn’t find it. So, I drove to the nearest small town and located a payphone. This was before Cell phones or GPS. I did have one of those new-fangled beepers. Anyway, the scheduling department connected me with the customer. I never found the home or the rock that looks like an Indian.
More recently, while driving along Florida A1A near Cocoa beach with my youngest daughter, she said, “Dad, turn east at the next light.” To which I responded, “Which way is east?” She said toward the big blue water. Okay.
There’s an old joke where someone driving along a rural route sees a rustic fellow walking along the road. The driver stops and asks for directions. The gentleman, in his overalls, ponders as he chews on a piece of straw and finally says, “I don’t think you can get there from here.” So, yea, I understand. It’s the other right, right?