Friday, August 7, 2015

The Mean Streets of Eastham

Our vacation week is winding down and soon we’ll be returning to our normal beachless life. That is, we will as long as one of my morning walks here doesn’t result in my husband driving around, calling my name from the car window because I’ve never made it back.

Maybe it’s my inner gyroscope that is tilted off-kilter as soon as our tires hit the sandy roads of the Cape, but I find it almost impossible to navigate here.

If we’ve had the bad judgment to put me behind the wheel, we’ll set off in the car, pull to the end of our tiny, tree-shrouded road, and my husband will ask why I’m turning left instead of right, or taking Great Pond Road instead of Samoset. The honest truth is that I have no idea where I’m going.

A rat in a maze has a higher probability of getting to his goal than I do.

The roads here are to the most part unlabeled, and more circuitous than a twisted colon.

I’ll think I have a handle on the relationship of one road to another – “Oh yes”, I say, “this road is parallel to that other one and therefore leads to. . .”

But then it doesn’t, because it takes a whimsical turn, and then a dogleg, and then jogs back in another direction. 

Yesterday I thought I’d be safe if I walked in a tidy circle, which would therefore bring me back to where I began. I plugged my book on tape into my head (Frog Music by Emma Donoghue) and set off for the end of our road, following a route that I thought would be logical, one road leading to another, and back again.

I did make it back, but only after walking right past the entrance to our tiny road (no street sign) and having to retrace my steps. If it hadn’t been for that gigantic hydrangea bush I noticed the first time around, I’d still be out there.

I’ve already informed my husband he’s forbidden to have any emergencies requiring me to leap in the car and drive him to medical care. 


  1. It's good you can joke about it. If I am in a new place it takes me a while to get my sense of direction back. Dad said, You won't get lost is you remember "markers" in the woods like you remembered the big bush! Good job.

    I have been lost in a vacation town and the only thing that saved us was knowing our motel was at the bottom of a valley so every downhill road we took eventually led us "home" It was a long walk!

  2. It wouldn't be so sad if this weren't our 7th year renting in this same house.

  3. I actually was born with no sense of direction, which manifested early when I would walk into the wrong house on the wrong street. Nothing has changed, except I've adopted several survival strategies for driving. I have none for walking, however.

  4. I think you might need to buy one of those gps gizmos so you can find your way back to your vacation home..or leave a trail of breadcrumbs and hope the birds aren't hungry!

  5. Ha! I've discovered that if I know my starting point I can just ask Siri to guide me back home. Embarrassing to some people, for me it's a lifesaver. :-)

  6. A good thing that bush was there to guide you home! I think you may have something with the sand thing. I have been lost ever since I moved to South Carolina. All the islands you have to go around to get anywhere and going north to go south, west to find a bridge to go east, etc have my inner gyroscope whirling. I've given up and just turn on the Google lady who tells me when and where to turn.

  7. My direction sense is usually pretty good. Which leaves me shattered when it deserts me.
    An excellent reason for forbidding your husband from having any medical emergencies though. And a reminder that I should avoid them too. My partner has noooooo direction sense at all.

  8. I find it hard to understand people who have difficulty navigating. However I sympathize with their fear and anxiety. But you always make it back so you're not that bad at navigation.

  9. How funny. They do have GPS devices for those on foot. Of course your husband might want to install a location chip in your shoes so he can find you easily. Works great for kids. As long as you can laugh about your adventures, all is good.

  10. I wouldn't say I have a perfect sense of direction but at least I turn the correct way to get where I'm going unlike my husband who just turns and I have to ask where we are going.

  11. Perhaps you could leave a painted rock at each corner so you can find your way next year. Turn left at the pink rock, right at the blue rock and so on, then reverse the order when leaving.


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