It started out as just wanting to extend the ride a little, because after leaving Target I wasn't quite ready to settle down for an afternoon of bloggin' and zinin'. So I decided to explore the residential area between Target and Starbucks. What could possibly go wrong? Unlike Pittsburgh, which based its street pattern on the Parisian catacombs, the roads in Maryland are usually quite straight and make more rational sense.
But "more rational" doesn't equal "can always find your way around, anywhere, anytime." Added to that, there's a trend here toward apartment and housing complexes based on brownstone styles, which can make the streets look really same-y. After about five minutes, I was lost. Ten minutes after that, I realized I was lost, and pulled out my smartphone.
The smartphone is one of those inventions that you don't know you need until you get one, at which point it seems impossible that you've ever lived your life without one. Like an mp3 player, or heroin. Sometimes I regret getting one because of how much it's tethered itself to me, but I would have had to get one eventually anyway. It's quite useful in situations like this, that is, unless your ability to read maps is severely compromised by a rare fake disorder I am going to tentatively call "dysgeographica," or the much more fun to say "dysmappia." Otherwise known as the inability to read a goddamn map.
|You're no help.
But my ability to get lost is both legendary and pervasive. I even got lost in my old neighborhood in Pittsburgh, and as humiliating as having to get picked up after a failed bike excursion is, it pales in comparison to being forced to call your husband to figure out how to get home when you're less than a mile away. Usually it takes me at least two years of living in a place before I figure out how to not get lost so much, but there's no guarantee that I won't ever get lost. I also have a much harder time in suburbia and small towns vs. big cities, I think because what little navigation I can manage is all based on landmarks, and there's more landmarks in a city.
When it comes to maps, though, I don't even fucking know, man. To me, a map makes as much sense as one of those fake equations that take up an entire chalkboard in movies when you want to show that the protagonist is some kind of crazy genius. On a map, everything is the Parisian catacombs. And because it's easy, both on a bike and on foot, to kind of zone out and not pay a lot of attention to where you're going, it's easy to take a few wrong turns and wind up next to the pile of skulls with a rat coming out of every eyehole. Metaphorically speaking. I will say that the ride itself, though longer than expected and without the intended outcome, was quite enjoyable up to the last half hour or so.
And I really don't know how I'm going to deal with driving when I don't have a co-pilot/navigator, because there's nothing that looks quite as same-y as highways. Guess I'll have to make sure my smartphone (whatever good THAT does) is always charged and accept that I'll probably waste a lot of gas and time.