Yes, I know it’s really Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute, but every time I pick up my new Garmin GPS, I can’t help but say “Fred Garmin, Male Prostitute” with a swanky lilt to my voice.
Dan Aykroyd aside, I love my new Garmin. And I’ll tell ya why. I have no sense of direction. Yup, none-at-all. Have you ever heard people say that they feel weird when they become disoriented and cannot find “North”? I feel like that ALL THE TIME. I always go the wrong way. ALWAYS. And I’ve not learned to ignore my ‘instincts’ yet.
I’m a big fan of printed out directions. Except reading them on the road can be a hazard, as you might well conclude. Plus I’m utterly hopeless in the dark. And for some unknown reason, getting there is less onerous than getting home. My brain cannot recreate a route and flip all my left turns to right turns and right to left. I’m convinced one or both of my hippocampi is damaged. I’ve never had good spatial navigation or perception. It’s the one thing that kept me out of the ‘gifted’ program when I was in grade school. All the kids went to the library for testing, I got lost and ended up in the gym. Go figure.
Anyway, my lack of directional sense is funny in retrospect and hilarious in the recounting of stories where I only had one way to turn to get some place, and I inevitably ended up elsewhere. But on a day-to-day basis, it’s a drag. I’m kind of afraid of driving new places – well, not kind of…but definitely. I can usually get there ok, but I have a knot in my stomach the ENTIRE time I’m where-ever because I’m worried about the drive home. And getting lost…again.
Right after high school, when I was working for my mom, I used to give out bagel samples at Costco (yup, that was me) and other grocery stores around Tucson. Then she branched out to Phoenix and I had to drive up there once. So were’ talking the late 80s/early 90s…no cell phones, no Google maps, no GPS (or sat nav as the Brits call it)… just myself in a car following my brother in his car. He drives like a maniac – I’m terrified and trying to follow his car going 90 MPH on the interstate. By the time I got to Costco, I wanted to puke. My brother helps me set up and then leaves. I have no idea where I am or how to get home. So four hours later I’ve got myself into quite a frenzy worrying about driving. Finally, I broke down and called my Mom sobbing because it was dark and I was completely undone. Thank GOD she lived just outside of Phoenix because she had to drive to the store so I could follow her home. I spent the night at her place at that point because I was a complete mess. And it shouldn’t be like that. EVER.
I was stuck in San Francisco on 9/11 because I was terrified of driving a rental car (and obviously, I was not going to get on plane AT ALL). I waited 3 days and took a bus to Bakersfield, CA where my husband picked me up. So obviously, this issue can be kind of debilitating.
UNTIL NOW! I love my Garmin. Having that little rectangular box on my dashboard has given me a crazy amount of freedom and self confidence. I have been driving to all sorts of new places and even turning at the wrong street intentionally so I can watch the magic of “recalculating route”. It always knows how to get me home. This was one of the greatest Christmas gifts ever. I’m even looking forward to going to Scottsdale next weekend to test my skills in an unfamiliar city. No more worrying about getting lost. I can’t describe to you how much this little device has opened up my world.
Wanna go someplace?