Lost and confused

Oh. My. God. I got SO lost yesterday. I mean, in a completely surreal way that almost never happens to me. It wasn’t just a “I don’t know where this road goes” lost. It was a “I cannot tell up from down” kind of lost. Completely disorienting. There were tears involved.

The last time I remember being so lost, it was in Yorkshire, my first day–no, my first HOUR of driving on the left side of the road, where the first thing I did was turn right instead of left, and ended up in The Shambles. Here’s a hint. Medieval streets–not designed for even compact automobiles.

So, I take any street that will get me out of there, end up God knows where, because the English don’t believe in road signs, and I’m suddenly out in the country, heading for the Scottish border for all I knew. Finally I stop in this pub, which is awesomely like something out of James Herriot, only I can’t appreciate it, because I’m that lost. Even more awesome are these three old guys sitting at the bar having a pint. I walk in with my map, and the first guy says, in an accent that I simply cannot do justice in text, and an unholy twinkle of laughter in his eye: “Well, now, who’s lost, then.”

So these guys proceed to give me directions that also include no street names. “Go back, past the big field with the stone wall and two traffic circles, and after you pass the big Tesco (not the little one), turn right.” And the other guy: “No, are you daft, don’t send her that way, she’ll end up in Scotland.” And the publican: “Are you sure you don’t want to just sit down and have a pint.”

Tempting, very tempting. I wouldn’t have helped my problem (would have only made it worse, actually), but I would have felt better for awhile.

The only other time I was that lost was in college, on an orienteering exercise in Fort Sill, OK. I was actually pretty good at orienteering, I just wasn’t fast. (These legs don’t cover ground very quickly; when I worked in teams, on of my strides equaled half of anyone elses.) But this one time, I got so turned around that I didn’t know up from down. It’s actually rather terrifying, being THAT disorientated. Especially out in the wilderness of Oklahoma, with the sun going down, worrying about falling off a bluff, or artillery exercises, or maybe just the ghost of Geronimo.

Maybe it so upsetting to me because it doesn’t happen to me very often. I don’t have a perfect sense of cardinal directions (that’s what a compass is for) but usually I’m decent at seeing spatial relationships in my head. But when that breaks down, boy, it does it with a vengeance!

What about you guys? Could you get lost in your own house? Or are you one of those people who always knows where you are? Does it upset you to get lost, or is that all part of the journey for you?

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