Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I have a new GPS (on sale for $150 at Costco!) On the way home today I used it. Fascinated by the screen, I missed my freeway entrance and at once had to rely on the new toy to navigate me through neighborhoods I'd never seen before. It worked swimmingly and got me onto the freeway at the next entrance. As I drove I could feel all my internal maps and sense of direction draining out of my brain. From now on I shall be a dependent, mindless GPS-obeyer, much like my face-blind friend but without her excuse:
There also seems to be a tie between face-blindness and a lack of a sense of direction. I don't understand the physiology behind that connection at all, but I do know it's true for me. I have absolutely no sense of direction. I lived in my parents' house for twenty years and I cannot draw you a floor plan of that house. If I wanted to run two errands in a row, back before I had my GPS receiver, I'd have to run the first errand, return home, and then venture out for the second. This was because I had the paths from my house to the various stores memorized, but because they were learned by rote, and without any understanding of how the two sites related to each other in space, I couldn't deviate from the memorized directions and add a detour into the trip. When people give me detailed directions how to get somewhere, if I'm expected to return after I get there, I have to ask them for directions back. I lack the ability to reverse directions. This seems particularly difficult for people to understand, so I get the, "Just... reverse them!" response a lot, as if I'm trying to be smart with them. Sorry. Can't reverse them!


Rachel Ann said...

WOW! Can you imagine having face blindness??? That is crazy...How hard that would be!

Eanah said...

It has its moments, for sure! But overall, it's not quite as hard as you might imagine. I've never known any different, so I cope. :)

Then, I don't have it as bad as some. I can *eventually* learn a face. Some people never learn to recognize their immediate family, children, or spouse!