Someone directionally challenged Chuck. He chalks it up to all the southern cities he lived in as a child. His father’s job moved the family about every two years. For years after we married, I was still learning about other cities where he had lived—Knoxville, Jacksonville (FL), Richmond, Charlottesville, Gainesville (FL), Augusta, Greenville (MS), Opelika, Ft. Lauderdale, Scranton (SC)…
He can get lost quickly, but unlike many men, he quickly stops at a minute market to ask for directions. Of course, you know as well as I do that usually the person behind the counter at the minute market just moved to town last week and knows nothing about their surroundings.
Chuck thinks I’m a rock star when it comes to “finding my way.” He says that I have a sixth sense of direction. My gift comes from summer after summer of traveling by car all over the US with my parents, but Chuck thinks it is having lived in the same area all my life.
There are times, though, when my sixth sense of direction fails us. Usually, it is in a big city somewhere at night.
Before GPS, Chuck would drive, and I would navigate using a map. When Harold drives, his mind is all over the place. He spaces out, as engineers so often do. I may have said, “Turn left at the next intersection,” but we will pass it by if I don’t repeat it and sometimes yell it. To which Chuck replies, “You don’t have to yell.” Yes, I do. I really, really do.
One night in Atlanta, we visited one of his old fraternity brothers. We had been weaving through street after darkened suburban streets for almost an hour. The map was unclear about a coming turn, as it had been unclear many times before. I mentioned it again to an exasperated and tired Chuck, and he snapped back, “Well, it is right there, Cindy; just look at the map and figure it out.”
Well, I was tired and hungry, too, which is a combination that usually pushes me over the edge. When we married, my mom warned Chuck, “Sometimes Cindy gets hungry and tired.” At the time, Chuck thought she had slipped a little into “la la” land with all the wedding day dramas, but he quickly understood.
It probably came several days later when I moved my furniture into his home, and he tried to explain that there wasn’t enough room for all my grandma’s heirlooms. Chuck already had furniture of his own there.
Today, we still live in the same house; and Chuck tells folks that as far as he knows, there is not one stick of his furniture left. If he’s talking about those macrame yard chairs that used to sit in his living room, he’s right. They were about the only furniture worth keeping, but they went outside where they should have been all along. They finally rotted, so we threw them out. But I digress as I so often do.
So I snapped, shoved the map between him and the steering wheel, and said, “I’m done. You figure it out!” He was furious, and so was I. We finally stopped arguing while he belly-ached and tried to figure out the map.
Enter our first GPS system a few years later, and later while traveling in Colorado, Chuck and I realized it had been a long since we had fought over directions. In fact, we’re wondering if there will be a time soon when people will not know how to read a map.
So, GPS may have saved our marriage? Our earliest were several smaller Garmins and a Tomm, but the latest ones come factory installed in our car and truck. Thankfully, their screens are large enough that even I can see it, even with my progressive contacts and 2.00 readers.