Metro-East Living

The directionally challenged can still get where they need to go

Thank goodness for Mapquest and Bluetooth.
Thank goodness for Mapquest and Bluetooth. Provided

I am directionally disabled. I can’t tell the difference between north, south, east and west. And that whole “follow the sunset” thing? Forget it.

So it came as no surprise when my pal Susan Skinner and I got a little lost on a weekday excursion. Susan was behind the wheel since she is a much better driver. Things went well until we got off course.

“There are all these detour signs,” she said, weaving through red light districts with bars on windows. “I know we can find our way back to the highway, but it might take a while.”

“But what if we don’t?” I asked my friend. “What if we die?”

True, it was late morning and less crime occurs during daylight hours. Still, when it comes to directions, things can take a turn for the worst, which they did when we got stopped by a train.

Not just any train. A train that broke down on the tracks. There was a burned-out building to our right and a trash-littered field to our left. I say trash-littered in lieu of corpse littered, though with all the overgrown weeds, who could tell?

Did I mention Susan and I were on our way to take part in an animal welfare video? She was worried we were going to be late for the filming. I was concerned we were going to be shot.

“If we get murdered, we should try to land on our stomachs,” I told my friend, as she drummed the steering wheel of her white SUV. We were wearing our Belleville Area Humane Society T-shirts – the ones with the cute BAHS logos on back. If we couldn’t make it to the taping, at least we could advertise the shelter when our photos appeared on the front page of the next morning’s paper.

As it turned out, all my worries were for naught. The train started moving, and we made it to our destination unscathed. This wasn’t the first time we’d been disoriented together, and it won’t be the last.

“I know I shouldn’t say this,” Susan recently told me, after we solicited strangers for directions while lost in downtown St. Louis, “But did it ever occur to you that we’re both blondes?”

“At the ‘root’ of most dumb blondes is a shrewd brunette,” I told my pal.

We both have Bluetooth, and we know how to use it. That coupled with MapQuest will get you where you need to go.

But watch out for those trains. They’ll slow you down.