Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am physically capable of getting lost inside my own house (thankfully, that has not happened yet. But, never say never!).
That being public knowledge, whenever I leave the house, it is wise for me to wear several tracking devices, carry various maps and be eqipped with GPS (I seriously did consider buying a cell phone eqipped with GPS, but it was just too expensive). And leave early. If possible, three days early.
Last Sunday I decided to walk to the church where I attend English worship services, because it is close to my new house and because I had a map and because I didn’t want to spend the money for the subway. According to my map, it should have taken somewhere between 30-45 minutes to walk there. And that’s if I took only main roads, without any shortcuts. So, knowing my penchant for taking the senic route, I left an hour and a half early.
Leaving my house, I was optimisitc. This time I would do it right. I studied the map well before I left, then tucked it in my purse for further reassurance.
After a few blocks of walking past familiar stores, I looked past them and saw a ferris wheel. Wait! A ferris wheel? How did I get here? There is no ferris wheel where I am going!
However, there is a ferris wheel just past where I am going, so I must have misjudged the distance, gone too far, and it is obviously time to cut to the east, like I knew I would have to. Okay, so, turn left and … and come to an unfamiliar intersection.
No street names, no familar landmarks, and a looming ferris wheel.
I kept walking for awhile. Eventually, something would look familar, or I would come to another large intersection, or I would stumble upon a subway station, and things would be fine again. Finally I came upon a map that showed where I was and labled different parts of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the university I needed as a landmark was not on there, but at least I had an idea of which way to head (and it was away from the ferris wheel. See, I knew it!)
I started walking, and now realized that I was going to be late for church if I did not find it or a subway station soon. So I kept walking and picked up the pace. Suddenly, I was filled with dread. I recognized the gas station in front of me. I recognized the intersection in front of me. I walked for an hour in a circle. I was back to my house.
How did I get here?
I got on the subway, as I had tried to avoid all along. Once I finally made it to church (I got lost again taking a new subway route, too), I tried to explain what happened. Someone asked, “So you turned at the ferris wheel, right? It’s just down the street.”
The ferris wheel I had been trying to avoid was supposed to have been my landmark. For six months, I have been approaching the church from a different direction. I had never known that behind a group of tall buidings sat a small amusement park.
I am still not sure how I arrived at the church. It’s amazing I manage to find my way anywhere at all! (P.S. Even after all that, I was still five minutes early for church!)
How did I get here?