Which Way?

I have a fault to confess.

This issue has haunted me since the day I first had a parent scream at me, “Turn right, damn it!!!! Turn right! Not left. RIGHT!!! Aw, for crying out loud….” Imagine brakes squealing in the background. They might be my brakes. Or someone else’s. But they are squealing.

I am directionally challenged.

There. I said it.

All I can say is thank the gods above for GPS and onboard navigators. They have saved my life, and the lives of those I hold dear, on more than one occasion.

When they are right.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been different if I had had Google Maps in those early formative years. What would have happened if I had shown up for the interview for the summer job with that attorney on time instead of wandering around lost for thirty minutes in a scary part of town?


Now you may say, “It is a dang good thing you are not a surgeon if you don’t know right from left!” You would have a valid point except that right and left on human bodies it not a problem at all.

I cannot tell you how my brain does it exactly. In a fraction of a second, the human body in front of me is flipped and I stick out my virtual right and left hands as correlation and TA-DA! Perfect placement documented.

Yet, I cannot do this while driving. I feel handicapped, even paralyzed, at a large intersection unless I can look over at the map projected on the screen in my car and see which way that blue line is going…


I would like to blame my parents. They make perfect scapegoats for all sorts of things, especially as they cannot defend themselves in this forum. Genetically, I could lack all those special neurons in the entorhinal cortex region of the brain. Or it could be that they forced my left handed early self to become right handed because of the perceived disability associated with left handedness.

Regardless of all of that, I am an intelligent woman (I think) with an advanced degree. I can help treat your diabetes and pneumonia and God forbid, your heart attack. Just don’t ask me for directions to my own clinic.


87 thoughts on “Which Way?

  1. I can relate to this one for sure! I learned early in life to do the opposite of what my intuition was telling me. I always seem to be 180 degrees off. I don’t understand it but I am very geographically challenged. Of course, I love GPS!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In high school, my friend Jane was the smartest person I knew. She went to YALE! Anyway, she told me that she’d read a study that said that intelligent women have trouble telling their right from their left.

    In spite of the fact that now I am a medical researcher and a Google Master, I have not looked to see if Jane was/is right. I believe it. I’d cross my heart and hope to die only I can’t figure out which hand to use …

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s partly a result of early training and partly situational. I generally have no trouble with maps or directions, and can’t remember ever being lost. But, when I came back from driving in the UK, it took a while to get left and right sorted again. And, when I moved from Los Alamos (mountain on the west) to Albuquerque (mountain on the east), it took me 6 months to work that out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am also directionally challenged so to overcome this I spent a lot of time studying maps and charting out courses to all sorts of places in the different cities I’ve lived in. This has helped. Also, and you’ll probably roll your eyes at this one (as does dear wife) video games, specifically massive open world games, have helped me a lot with orienteering and knowing how to imprint landmarks on my brain and having spatial awareness. It also helps tremendously with navigating a building or a room. But I’m thinking you don’t have time to up Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls. Anyway, I do feel your pain. I hate getting lost, it makes me feel so stupid.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Being blind I have a good idea where I am going in terms of familiar routes (for example from my home to the office). I am, however bad at describing how to reach there to others. Things which would, to me as a blind person constitute landmarks wouldn’t to a sighted person. I am lucky in that my guide dog has a great GPS …!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. To make you feel good, I am a bit dyslexic. I see things, say things, backwards. Numbers forget it. I have to be very very careful or I will write down wrong numbers, mixing the order up. I don’t know my left from my right in a mirror. My Yoga teacher who says left for us, because she is facing us, will do her right. She has trouble teaching her daughter driving due to her left being right, and her right being left. I have a real good sense of direction, but to ask me to go left or right, I get confused. There have been times I have had to pull over on the shoulder of the road due to making wrong turns and for a moment or two, not know where I am. Feel better now? One reason why I LOVE photography there is no left or right for me. It just IS. One more thing. When I took ballet lessons, I could not use the mirror. It confused me. So there you have it … I hope I made you feel better. (((HUGS))) Amy

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ha! I’m with you there.

    A few years ago (before smartphones were the rage), my husband got a GPS for me for Christmas, as I was pregnant and scared I would go into labor by myself and have to drive. I have no sense of direction whatsoever, so we wanted to be safe.

    And then I couldn’t even follow that right. Called him for directions one day at work and his coworkers were dumbfounded because they knew I had gotten that GPS. Now my husband rights out step by step directions using landmarks and it’s all good πŸ™‚ They need an app to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The question I dread most at work is “how do I get there?” Lucky for me I’m in Colorado and the mountains are in the West. That’s how we know which way we’re going here. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Last summer, when driving through the Swiss Alps and Ticino I gave my 14 year old son the much coveted job of navigator, map holder and GPS Fiddler-With. We discovered the GPS (who we nicknamed Bossy Bessy) was trying to kill us- mainly by telling us to turn right into the river, off the mountain or onto a train track!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m sorry for your left/right handedness issue. I remember that less enlightened time when the nuns forced those lefties to write the “proper” way. Yikes. That must have taken a long time to overcome.I am resistant to GPS, always loved reading maps. Still do.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. LOL! That’s funny! I am the exact opposite! I can be blindfolded and taken to the middle of the woods in a neighboring town in the dark, and I can find my way home no problem. But ask me which is ,y right or left hand, and I still have to hold up my thumbs and forefingers to see which side makes the letter “L”.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: My Article Read (12-23-2014) (12-24-2014) | My Daily Musing

  13. Thank you for this post. I am geographically challenged and I get so angry at myself because I’ve felt so “useless” at times because of it. (Have to admit my Ex Ex was horrendous. If he took me somewhere ONCE I was expected to know how to get there), I think I have a full blown phobia now when anyone asks me “How do you get there?” That stomach dropping feeling sets my blood pressure into the stratosphere!
    Now, “Bossy Ben” – the GPS, who has a penchatnt for trying to send me off the side of a cliff is blamed for any misdirections . Ha – a male to blame! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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