I got lost in Dyersburg a few months back. I thought I was going west but I was going south.
Now don't ask me how I did that, but when I realized I was going in the wrong direction toward Millington, I stopped and asked a guy for directions. He told me exactly where to turn, how to go so that I wouldn't have to backtrack much, but I missed the turn and got lost again. Then I stopped at a Quick Stop and two ladies drew me a Mapquest on a brown paper sack. That helped a lot. The handwritten instructions told me how many stop lights I would need to go through before I turned left to make my way to the interstate.
People nowadays assume you have GPS in your car or on your phone. I have neither. I still have the first cell phone I ever bought and it is primitive. It takes no photos, doesn't speak, can't browse or research, and doesn't have a computer. All it will do is send and receive calls, sometimes. It doesn't navigate or have a touch screen. It's plump and gray and has an antenna. For sure, it's no power plant. My plan is prepaid minutes and if I don't keep on renewing and renewing, I lose my accumulated minutes.
Honestly, I could get lost in a mall. I stand in front of a "You are here" map and wonder which way to turn.
I've always put the blame on my brain. You see, I was born left handed, but I tried to adjust to a right handed world.
My elementary teachers wouldn't allow me to use my left hand which was the natural thing for me. I was encouraged to print with my right hand which confused my brain. Therefore, I interchanged and was able to write with either hand equally well.
Later I learned that meant ambidextrous.
But not totally for me. My brain told me to use my left hand when using scissors, never my right hand. Scissors always felt strange until one day after I was grown someone handed me some left handed scissors. I didn't know they made such a tool.
And I was confused in which hand to hold a bowling ball or a baseball bat or a rifle. And because I used my left hand to eat, I was usually bumping elbows with the person seated next to me.
None of that has changed. I thought I would mention all those things so that you might understand why I get my right and left backwards, sometimes.
Anyway, back to getting lost and finding directions.
I'm beginning to think that giving directions is a lost art.
Sometimes the one giving directions thinks "left or right" while another thinks "north or south". Some will talk in minutes, others in miles. Some use landmarks. I do that a lot. I look for a familiar church or cotton gin or car lot then I know I'm on the right road.
The one directing might say, "Turn left at Green's Store", failing to mention that the store burned down in 1980.
Right here I think I'll mention that tired cliche about how men never ask for directions. The other day this man, David, from Michigan, said that he doesn't get lost. He is just always looking for an alternate route. Yeah, right.
My alternate route caused me to lose almost an hour's time. It was dark before I got home. And that wasn't the plan.
David also said that giving directions is a quaint activity that has gone the way of the front porch swing, butter churners and the rotary phone. He forgot to mention the backyard clothes line.
What David doesn't know is that lots of people in Northeast Arkansas have front porch swings. I have two. I also have an old black rotary phone that I used for years when my electricity went out and disabled my cordless phones.
A telephone repairman told me once that the black rotary phone was probably the best one in my house.
I used the rotary phone to alert the rural electric company that my power was off.
I also have a churn that is used for decorative purposes only, but I do remember watching my grandmother churn butter when I would visit her house in Caruthersville, Mo., when I was a child.
I didn't get lost then.
Well, maybe once while I was looking for an alternate route.