I’m not one of those guys who won’t stop for directions. Mainly because I can figure it out before I need to. If it ever got to that, I am sure I would, but for the most part I can get around well enough, even when I am visiting a place I’ve never been before.
Last summer, after leaving my sister-in-law’s apartment in Queens, we missed a turn to go north around Citi Field and out of New York without crossing into the heart of Manhattan. My wife panicked, my daughter following her lead. “It’s okay,” I said. “As long as we don’t turn that way (I said pointing toward 100-story buildings across the East River) we’re gonna be okay.”
So I sort of loop around, bolting past LaGuardia, make a couple of lefts. We’re back on Queens Boulevard, and eventually make our way back to our starting point. We hit the turn the second time and bypass the heart of NYC on our way back to Central Pennsylvania.
For some reason I can do that. Don’t really know why, but even in unfamiliar places I’m able to sort of figure out where we are.
I think I may have passed that trait onto my daughter (which is a great thing if she and my wife ever becoming shopping buddies in the near future).
Last week, Maren and I took a couple of days and went to Washington, D.C. Moments before we left, I realized we didn’t have the GPS. All I had was my phone and directions printed off Google Maps.
“I can read them off from the backseat,” she said as I dug through center consoles and glove compartments.
I haven’t been to DC in a long time. Not sure, but it has been years, at least since she’s been born and she’s a pitching wedge away from 8. It’s not a city I am familiar with and one that scares me because it has streets that cross diagonally in addition to the normal block pattern we all love.
Once I got into the city I thought I would be fine. I looked at enough maps to gauge the chances are we could get lost. I thought as long as I didn’t drive through any security barriers around the White House, we weren’t going to end up in jail.
Getting into the city was my worry. There are a lot of 95s around there.
The only real trouble we ran into was that she would read the directions then tell me how long in time, not in distance. “Follow I-495 South for 46 seconds before merging onto 66 East,” she said, finishing 42 seconds after I got onto 495.
She did a pretty darn good. We did not miss a single turn, although I did cut some people off in traffic at least once. We arrived within one minute of how long the directions said it would take.
She can be my navigator any day. As long as it’s a little cooler.