You Are Here by Erika Raskin

Photo of confusing map of parking garage
When the passive aggressive amongst us go into cartography. (Thanks for the help.)

I’ve written previously about missing a sense of direction and thought an update might be warranted:

It still sucks.

Recently, when I was taking my ups driving my brother to chemo appointments in DC (where I haven’t lived since 1982) I asked which way to turn to get into the hospital parking lot.

‘I told you yesterday,’ he said.

‘And, what, you can only tell me once?’

He instructed me to take a left. Grudgingly. Then I’m pretty sure he called me ‘hazy’ under his breath. I stopped myself from reaching over and pinching him but only because I’m nicer than he is. This has been going on my entire life—not the sibling stuff, I’m older—but the virtual inability to commit to memory any route between Point A and Point B. Even when I get a general gist I could never, you know, draw anyone else a map.

I’ve spent a significant percentage of my time lost. Not a little turned around or just needing a moment to gather my bearings, but unadulturatedly, hardcore lost. Basically I was born with no internal navigation system and ever since my very first solo trip to our neighborhood park my heart’s been picking up speed whenever I have to commit to a path. Nothing ever looks familiar. Or everything does—I just can’t figure out what side it’s supposed to be on.

In college I spent a summer interning for a senator. It was a fun job (though I did disconnect Senator Kennedy. He called back.) But I could never remember which way to turn after getting off the elevators. (There was a bank of them facing each other which made things impossible.) Eventually I made a teensy, weensy, minuscule pen mark to point me in the right direction. This was pre-CCTV (obviously.) If I hadn’t, I’d still be wandering the halls of the Dirksen Office Building.

Anyway, back to now.

It’s not that I actually expected the condition to improve with age it’s just that I am now a grandmother who does carpool. With a new generation of wiseasses behind me.

Eight-year-old Grandson in backseat: ‘Poppy?’

Me: Hm?

Him: Aren’t you taking us home?

Me: Why?

Him: This isn’t the right way.

Me: Are you sure?

Him: Yes.

Five year-old granddaughter: You should probably do one of your U-turns.

Me: That’s very helpful advice. Thanks.

Her: When our other grandma came for a sleepover visit here she got lost too. Does that make you feel better?

Me: A little. Yeah.

Throw in my sadistic sat-nav and I really shouldn’t be let out of the house.

Me: Siri, driving directions to Crozet, Va.

Siri: Driving directions to Broadway.

Me: Crozet.

Siri: Broadway.

Me: I hate you.

Siri: That’s not very nice.

The children howled. And begged me to drive again the next day.


Erika Raskin
Erika Raskin is Streetlight‘s fiction editor. More of her ramblings—real and figurative— can be found found at erikaraskin.com.

Follow us!
Facebooktwitterinstagram
Share this post with your friends.
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *