Monday, April 05, 2010

Lost Rumination #1

I get lost a LOT. Pretty much all the time, especially when I'm driving (not that I do that where I live now, but when I was). Actually, I should say that I used  to get lost all the time. Now, as long as I stay about Houston in Manhattan, I don't get lost because all the streets are numbered (unless I'm on West 4th Street, because that street just doesn't make much sense).

It must be true that I was not born with an innate sense of direction. When I was about eight, I thought that left was the opposite of whatever I thought left was. Sadly, I was usually right (that is, correct), but my cousin Marva taught me the flaw in the logic there.  It's bothered me for a long time because it's very inconvenient not to know where you are going and a little scary, too (less so since the advent of cell phones). I think I have found out the reason for my confusion. I don't visualize things the way other people do.

I was reading an article a couple of weeks ago about this guy who had lost the ability to picture things in his mind. The only way I could interpret the article was that this guy actually saw the things in his mind that he was picturing. I've talked to a number of people about this since then and it seems like that's how most people do things. Images in the mind. I don't have that. I can think of an image, but I don't actually see it. So if it's not an excuse, at least I have a reason that I find it incredibly difficult to find my way around.

In order to compensate for this, I do two things. One, I always write down where I am going and how to get there. Every time. Or at least every time until I know how to get there by heart, which takes quite a long time. Two, I don't say I know where I am going unless I really know where I am going.


  1. This was a profoundly insightful conclusion. It never occurred to me that not everyone sees the mental images. And I don't know why I never thought of that. I recently discovered, through a conversation with Bill, that not everyone feels music in their throat. What I mean by that -- when I think of a pitch, I hear it in my head and feel its placement along my chords before I even open my mouth.

    I doubt if this realization will help you reach your destination. However, it certainly teaches me to be more understanding...


  2. Thanks. I think everyone views the things they don't think about as perfectly normal. It's why everyone assumes that we all see the same colors even though there is no proof of that whatsoever.