Orange County Register — North County News; Date: January 25, 2018; Section: News; Page Number: A3
WHAT A DAY
Wondering where I am doesn’t make me Wonder Woman
I don’t tell many people this, but I do have a superpower. Like any superhero, it is a blessing and a curse. I haven’t figured out the blessing part of it, but it’s definitely a curse.
I have the uncanny talent for getting lost.
Although I know how to follow a map, I have no sense of direction, no inner beacon that points me toward north, and no clue why I get disoriented. I have lost my car in so many parking lots, I now have a “Dude, where’s my car” app on my phone.
Unfortunately, I often forget to use it.
When Dale and I went to London, he relied on me to call up the map on my cell phone and get directions to whatever landmark we wanted to visit. I consider that extreme trust on his part. Mostly, I did manage to find every place, although I often led us in the wrong direction out of the underground, only to watch the blue dot on the phone move away from our destination.
It’s easy to flip a U-turn when you’re walking.
We got into a little trouble in Bath. The tour guide showed us several landmarks on our way from the bus, and reminded us, cheerfully, that he would leave without us if we weren’t back on time. I made note of the route, confident that we’d find our way.
What I didn’t count on was that the street fair would put up barricades that led us off our intended path. As a result, Dale and I got lost. Fortunately, Marcus found us, led us to another bus, and we all returned to London.
Marcus’ superpower is saving his parents.
I recently went to a horse show in Burbank. Normally, I take the 57 freeway to the 210 and back again, which is longer than the I-5, but not as crowded. This time, I decided to let my phone tell me which way to come home. She insisted that the I-5 was the fastest route.
Who am I to argue with technology?
As I drove, I glanced at the phone’s display, noticing the solid red line approaching. This indicated a major slowdown. The phone was correct, and I saw a sea of brake lights ahead.
“Liar,” I told the phone. “This is not the fastest route.”
She was not defeated. “In half a mile, take exit 131A.”
I thought she might be rerouting me to another freeway, but the exit led to a small street of modest homes and corner stores. Several blocks and a left turn later, I was back on the I-5, with a little less traffic ahead of me.
I was happy to have avoided the jam, but wondered about my phone’s detour. Surely I wasn’t the only recipient of her rerouting—I saw several cars getting off and back on the freeway the way I did. How many cars would it take before our diversion was as congested as the freeway?
In the end, I got home within her estimate, which wasn’t too bad for a Friday evening. I even trusted her enough to guide me again on Saturday’s trip from the show. She took me down the I-5 again, rerouting me on and off at a few locations, but it didn’t bother me.
At least I wasn’t using my superpower. I’d have ended up in Bakersfield.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].