Way back when I was in elementary school, we had standardized tests, just like the ones today with the little fill in ovals. But we had one test every year that might surprise some people - map reading. Is this even a thing anywhere these days?
Map reading was the bane of my kid existence. Reading, math? No problem. But the little graph of my scores always had an anomalous canyon in them. The giant sinkhole in all those nice consistent scores was always, always map reading. It's an odd visual/ spatial issue that was never seen as a learning challenge and always dismissed as not vital to my education (though, if this was true, why test for it???) so it was never addressed.
It did indeed become an issue when I got older. Business trips often became a nightmare of anxiety and getting lost in strange cities. A nervous session of "please tell me you know where this is" followed every car rental, with me relying on how knowledgeable the person behind the counter was and how good they were at giving directions to someone directionally blind. Dallas was especially problematic since the street I was supposed to follow abruptly ended before the target destination and those directions from the car rental person were all I had. Believe me, going in a bar and asking the bartender through snot and tears how to find a particular hotel and having the bartender look at you like you're an alien and tell you it's just around the block? Excruciatingly humiliating.
But those were the bad old days. Now we have navigation and Skynet...er, I mean global positioning tells us where we are. This might seem lazy to some hard core map readers (points quietly to hubby) but for me, it's a life saver. As long as I have an actual address to plug in, I can find it. Does this mean I don't get lost anymore? Well, no. There was a certain learning curve to the whole using the GPS thing. Like putting in the right state when you're in a border area and both states have the same town or street names nearby.
But my GPS is my friend. We picked the Aussie voice and named her Sheila and I adore her. So long as no one changes the settings and I've planned the trip with addresses beforehand, I can do this. I can conquer the world. As long as I actually listen to her...and pay attention to which street the purple line indicates...
In 200 feet, turn right... Recalculating....
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