It’s not even that I have no sense of direction.
I have a sense of direction that actively tells me wrong.
Invariably, if I think my destination is to the right, it will be to the left.
And trying to do that mental calculation – “If I think it’s this way, it must be that way” – either turn after turn or quickly, such as while driving, is impossible. The gears in my brain will grind to a halt, and I will, yet again, be lost.
How bad is it?
I get lost in office buildings. I get lost trying to make the block. Even when I lived in New York City (a grid would be easy, you’d figure), I’d have to stop on the sidewalk, face north and visualize the subway map, in order to know which way east or west was. If streets actually curve, forget it. Hell, I have used the GPS on my phone while walking in my own neighborhood to get home.
The GPS is, incidentally, in my estimation, the Best Invention Ever.
Here in Houston, a large percentage of small talk centers on where things are. I nod. I smile. I say, “Oh, yes: there.” However, people always seem to sense I am faking – and will keep trying to explain, sure they can clear it up for me. They can't.
This condition, I have recently discovered, has a name: developmental topographical disorientation. Some people have it much worse than I do, even getting lost in their own homes. In one article I read, the author said something like “Can you believe it? Some people don’t automatically know which way north is.”
To which I can only respond, “Everybody else does?”