The Directionally Disabled Diva

I was walking in my neighborhood the other day when someone pulled over and asked me where a particular street was, which unbeknownst to this hapless soul, made about as much sense as asking Kim Kardashian for acting advice.


Because it’s not only possible, but 111 percent probable that if you dropped me into any area within a 20-mile radius of my house and gave me directions using only North, East, South and West, I would end up somewhere 40 miles away from my house.

A compass is as foreign to me as self-editing and maps are simply pretty pictures with lots of distracting colors that are entirely impossible to a) understand b) look at while driving and c) fold back up.

In other words, I have no sense of direction.

I’ve brought this up before, but was reminded when that guy asked me where that street was and 10 minutes later I realized I sent him in the completely opposite direction. This would be excusable in my warped brain if the street in question wasn’t literally ¼ mile from my own and the subject of a post a couple of years ago.


  Someone decided that the “Milford” street sign in my neighborhood had suddenly graduated into something else a little sexier.

I thought maybe this directional disability would get better with time, but alas, it’s almost gotten worse. It’s not that I haven’t made a valiant effort to understand directions–I’m aware that north, east, south and west exist—it’s just that I don’t quite understand where they are in relation to where I am or want to be.

Highways aren’t referenced by specific names like 1-96 or 131, but rather “health food store highway” and “one that takes you to the gas station that has my favorite gum that everyone else stopped carrying. “

And while not many people ask me for directions after that first time, I actually feel much worse for people trying to give me directions somewhere. Here’s how it typically goes:

Other person: Go east on that road about five miles.

Me: Is east left or right?


Other person: Head north on that street.

Me: If we’re standing in my driveway, is that behind me or in front of me?

In my head I see a flat map with north at the top, south at the bottom and the other two things on the sides. How this translates into real life is somewhat more complicated. Until someone paints a big N, E, S or W in the sky, I’m pretty much screwed.

But instead of lamenting the fact that my internal compass is as reliable as a Magic 8 ball, I’ve just accepted the fact that I might not always know where I’m going — on foot or in my life, for that matter — but that it never hurts to ask.

Unless you’re going to ask me where to go.

In that case, you’re pretty much screwed.

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21 responses to “The Directionally Disabled Diva

  1. That is exactly how I am! I remember driving through the outback in Australia with friends once, we’d been on the only straight road for hours. I was driving and we stopped at a petrol station for food etc. when we got back into the car, I had to ask them which way to go – they just laughed at me.

  2. My GPS always does that when I’m trying to get out of a shopping center – “go northeast for .3 miles” – ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?!?!?

  3. do you think they could paint N,S,E and W in the sky? That would be awesome.

    I get lost quite a bit too when I’m told to go East instead of left. I hate to pull the “blonde, Polish thing” but I have better things to do than determine which way is east. LOL

  4. butterflyny75

    LOVE this post because it is TRUE! It is so me lol When someone asks me for directions, I tell them to ask my husband lol

  5. Erin McMordie McDermid

    I miss the west coast. I grew up near Vancouver and you looked outside, saw mountains, and that was north. Easy peasy! I couldn’t live in NJ without my GPS!!

  6. OMG, I’m your soul sister, Abby! Are there support groups for people like us? Special parking permits? It’s not my fault, though. Back in the ’70s, Boy Scouts got all the map reading lessons. Girl Scouts were prepped to be the next Julia Childs, Heloise and Clara Barton! Can’t find my way out of a paper bag. But man, can I set a table!

  7. Clearly you need to get Waze on your phone and have the nice lady tell you when to go left and when to go right. Always works for me.

  8. Ahh, so you’re the one responsible for why men never bother to stop and ask for directions….

  9. I hate it when people give me directions using north & south too. I prefer left, right, and directions that involve landmarks. It was a lot easier in Southern California, though, since West was always towards the ocean and East was usually towards the mountains. South was towards San Diego and North was towards San Francisco. Plus, there are all of those freeways constantly reminding you which way is North, South, East, or West. In the Midwest you’re heading towards corn and soybeans in every direction.

  10. Remind me to never ask directions from you! Ha.

  11. Yes, I need landmarks w/ a personal history as well. Esp in my neighborhood. I have no idea how to tell someone else where that cafe is that I always go to. “Past that Italian restaurant I like.” Just realized all my directions are meal-based. I’m also the world’s slowest reactor. When driving, my husband handles the directions. He says, “Go right at the next corner.” We pass that corner and I say, “You mean that one?” Um, too late. I have mad skillz.

  12. Bahaha, I always ask to be told directions in right/left vs. NESW! I am very proud of myself for remembering where they fit on the “cross” – I say “never eat shredded wheat” – so clever! Too bad it doesn’t actually mean anything to me! Clueless.

  13. Despite all my walking I’m always getting lost so I know exactly where your coming from. I like the idea of the compass points in the sky but I’m pretty sure I’d still get lost.

  14. I concur. I hate when people say head north on street so and so. I don’t know which way that is because I am directionally challenged as well. I also am not a good judge of space. For example when people say it’s 20 feet away, I have no concept of what that looks like.

  15. I’m glad I am not alone! This really bothers me! I even bought a compass for my car so I could become accustomed to which direction I was going. It didn’t help. GPS is a nightmare for me! I’m one of the few on the planet that doesn’t “get it”. What the heck does “bear right in 800 yards” mean? Get off the exit ? The road seems straight to me?! I don’t know. I do, however, understand “recalculating”….happens often! …sigh…Becoming a “directional diva” has been a New Year’s Resolution for years…And don’t even get me started on the subject of maps! HAHA!

  16. Heck yeah! I’m not the only one in the world who suffers from the mis-direction syndrome! Helllooooo new friends of mine. 😉

  17. I’m so directionally challenged too!

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