I have always been so bad at directions that, when I went away to college, at Tarleton State University, in Stephenville, TX, population 8000 at the time, my Dad said, “she’s only going there because she can get on 281 North and go all the way to Stephenville without making any turns.”
Later on, married to my second husband, if I had been someplace before without him, he’s say, “Ok, which way do I turn?” If I said, “right” he’d turn left and we always got there just fine.
Once, when I was 13, I got myself lost on a bicycle in a town of 600 people. Several people drove by and asked how I was doing. In a town of 600, of course they knew I was a visitor. But I was too embarrassed to admit I could get myself lost in such a small place. So I just drove around for hours and hours. Until finally, my host saw me and said, “What are you doing out so late?” Head hung low in shame, I followed him home like a whipped dog.
My father says when God was passing out senses of direction, I thought she said “Senseless dictation.” And thought to myself, “what do I need that for?”
But the worst problem I ever had with directions was when I moved to Louisiana. The Cajuns will tell you they don’t use road signs much because, “Sha. If you sposed to be deh, why fer you need signs?”
One of my customers, when I was a bakery manufacturer’s rep, was headquartered in a little town outside Rayne, La, ‘the frog capitol of the world.” That part of LA did not get wiped out by Katrina. So, if you drive through on I 10 today, you’ll know you’re in Rayne, when you see hundreds of frogs painted on the overpass.
I once had a wild and crazy night partying in Rayne…but that’s another story…….getting back to this one….
The first time I called on a new potential client, Churchpoint Food Distributors, these are the directions Bubba Boudreaux game me: “When you get to the overpass in Rayne, turn right— Go ’til you see the chicken place, that used to be called a Church’s Chicken. But now, it’s got a new name. I ain’t gonna waste my time telling it to you as the name be changed again before you get here.
Anyway, go to the 3rd street pass the chicken place, not counting the street it’s on, and turn right, just keep going ’til you think you gone too far.
(I’m not making this up…needless to say by this point in time, my “senseless dictation” brain is doing belly flops in it’s liquid chamber.)
Incredibly, he continued, “When you get to that point, start looking to your left for a tree with a big knot hole and a broken branch. There won’t be much else to see. The broken tree marks the spot where the first church used to be. (Get it? Church Point) He said this last part with real enthusiasm, as if he thought the information was of vital importance to me.
“Once you pass the broken tree, take the left fork in the road, and you’ll run right in to Church Point. You can’t miss it!”
It was at that point that little alarm bells began going off in my head … reminding me of all the other times some well-meaning direction-giver had told me “you can’t miss it!”
Little did they know, indeed I COULD and IN FACT WITHOUT FAIL, I ALWAYS DID MISS IT. It was as if the sentence “You can’t miss it!” was the perfect hypnotic suggestion—allowing all ability to find a place, to drain instantly from my head.
Do not ask me to tell you how I got lost in the middle of nowhere, in a town with a population of 2300. All I can say in my defense is that some kind of FOG comes over me. I actually can tell directions from the placement of the sun in the sky, but it was overcast that day.
Two hours later, I arrived sheepishly at my appointment.
Some of you may not realize it, but Cajuns are a warm and forgiving people. They welcomed me with open arms. The meeting went very well. I got several new items slotted. Later that year, I became their “distributor of the year.”
The only hitch in a very pleasant day occurred when I was about to leave. Bubba looked at me and said, “Well, sha, now that you know your way ’round, let me give you the short cut back home.”
“You can’t miss it!”