Directions Are Overrated

Directions are not all they’re cracked up to be. Send me into the country. Tell me to take a left past the first cottonwood tree after the low water crossing, follow the fence to the third gap, turn right and stay straight until I see a crooked fence post, turn left at the old tire and go along side the pond until I see a shed on the hill, then turn right at the sheep pen—and I can find it every time. But send me into a city building with rooms on both sides of the corridor and I need an escort to get out again. On city streets, I have been known to turn into a gas station, fill the tank, then pull out and drive the wrong way for miles before I snap to the mistake.

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Directions like east, west, north, and south are the worst. We learned in school that north is in front of us, south is behind us, east is to the right, and west is to the left. Try using that information to navigate. You are always headed north unless you walk backwards or crab walk to one side or the other.

The Highlands of Scotland may not be the worst place in the world to find destinations—but it’s close. The roads aren’t marked. Alan says directional signs were purposefully removed to confuse German paratroopers in the war. Folks, the war is over.

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Additionally, signs are small; street signs are erected so high up on buildings that they are above eye level; they are faded almost beyond legibility, and road signs are in both Gaelic and English making them too crowded to read. And roundabouts. The map may tell you to take the B999351 at the next roundabout. Four roads spin off in four different directions and not one of them is marked.

When I first arrived here five years ago, Alan and I headed to a memorial service. We never got there, in spite of following lines of cars on a one-lane road in two different directions and stopping to ask two different people out walking their dogs how to get there. It’s a good thing Alan wasn’t preaching—five years later, we still haven’t found the place.

Oh…and the death blow, “You can’t miss it.” Perhaps no one else can miss it. But I can. Trust me.

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Yesterday we embarked on a trip the map said would take 29 minutes. Two hours later, we arrived at our destination. Today, we headed out on a 30-minute trip and made it home again within three hours. The road was not marked, so we took it to the end in both directions. Nor were there any numbers on buildings. Nor did the building we were searching for have a sign. So while Alan and I are both directionally-challenged…sometimes it’s not our fault that we get lost.

We have learned to enjoy the scenery while lost. We may be the first folks, for example, to know that the leaves are already turning.

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I’m so thankful the directions God gives in the Bible are easily understood. Even a directionally-challenged person can understand, “Do not covet, Do not steal, Do not commit adultery…love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul.

Can’t miss it.

http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

5 thoughts on “Directions Are Overrated

  1. This did make me chuckle, Steph! I am also hopeless with directions and I also need landmarks. Don’t give me street names or numbers unless they are actually visible. As for north south etc. turn me round once and I’m lost completely, so I so know what you mean! I’m glad both you and Alan have the same problem though…really. Can you imagine how upsetting it would be if one of you could always find the way? And look what you’d miss in the process…well, you can’t miss it, can you? 🙂

  2. Thanks, Val! It’s great to share something in common with you…well…as long as we continue to have the sense of humor to survive it! You are a great encouragement. Thanks so much for reblogging. Have a great night…the dog is putting us to bed now! It’s a good thing she’s a herding dog in case we get misplaced between here and the bedroom!

  3. Inredible post, Stephanie! I drive the kids crazy turning the wrong way–and here sometimes, you must deal with ‘aca’ and ‘alla’ to indicate left or right, and don’t ask me which is which! Beautiful pictures, too!

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