Monday, December 19, 2005

The art of Being LOST

The inspirational ‘Scarey Duck’ has once again given me the inspiration to write something on my BLOG.

Getting Lost….this is something I’ve been pretty good at. Mr Duck says that he has only recently acquired the ability to get lost, suffering from the annoying habit of inbuilt homing up to this point. – I on the other hand, have taken getting lost to new, almost undiscovered extremes. I could indeed be awarded a degree in getting lost!.. What follow are a couple of prime examples –

1 – soon after moving in to a new house with some friends I decided to walk down to the local shop - I walked because the shop was very close. We lived in a cul-de-sac, and you simply walk out of the house, turn right into the road, turn right at the end of the road, then turn right again into a side road…… Then there is the shop on the left hand side. There was actually considerably more turning right than there was walking in a straight line involved. The shop really was very, very close . I remembered the directions easily, after all, it was all right turns, so there was no way I could get lost. – I bought a bag of crisps, and a bar of chocolate – (Not a very healthy lunch I know!), then headed for home. I came out of the shop and turned right – (I couldn’t turn left out of the shop, because it was at the end of another cul-de sac.) – I go to the end of the road and turned right………….. then, I didn’t recognize anything…. Lost. I walked for a while, hoping that eventually something would make sense. When it started to get dark I started to panic. Would I ever find home again? – I only had a bag of crisps and a bar of chocolate….. How long would that last me, Why I might even starve to death unless I could find somebody to help me home! - - I eventually made it!

2 – Put me in a car, and I can get lost in almost epic proportions! – I used to live in Farnham, and once had to deliver a couple of photographs to Alton, and although Alton was only a few miles away, I’d never been there on my own before – (I had passed my driving test a few days earlier.) – Anway, I got to Alton with no problem, delivered the photo’s then headed for home. BUT, I couldn’t remember the way… BUT, I did see a sign for Basingstoke, and I think I knew the way home from there. So that’s the way I went – OK, so it might be a little out of my way, but at least I’d find my way home…..or so I thought!.
Me and the little Wolseley 1500 (1957) trundled into Basingstoke, then I knew that I had to find the M3… this was going to be easy, and I’d only be a little bit longer than expected. The M3 is a long road, and Basingstoke is unfortunately not at one end or the other. I therefore had a choice of whether to drive towards Southampton or London. Now I used a bit of intelligence here. I had often been up to London with friends who drove, and when they came home from London on the M3, they didn’t head towards London, they headed away from it, which is of course what I did! I drove for a long time, and didn’t see any signs for Aldershot or Farnham, I did however see signs for the seaside, and for ferries and things, then panic set in. I pulled off to find a garage where I might be able to phone home and get directions from my dad. The little garage in Eastleigh was manned by a very friendly assistant, who let me use his phone for free. I told him everything that had happened, and where I had been – He then asked if I knew what year it was…… I may have done!
I got home some time after midnight!

3 – I once parked in a street in London, It was a free space….. Nowhere near where I wanted to be, but I wouldn’t get a ticket or have to pay, so it was fine.. I promptly walked off, and did most of my London traveling by tube. Day done, I tried to return to my car. Luckily I remembered the tube station where I started my journey…….Remembering the name of the road where I had parked would have been a bonus! I did the only sane thing to assist in my finding my car. I found a little corner shop that sold cheap London A-Z maps and red pens, then set to work. I walked up a street, looking at the cars on both sides. If my car was not there, I would draw a red line along the length of that road, and move on to the next one. I’ve since lost the book, but I do know that I had pretty much covered three pages with red pen, before I eventually found my car!

4 – Before I had a car, I rode a motorbike, my daily ride between home – (Farnham) to work (Guildford) was pleasant enough, but sometimes I fancied a change, and would take a slightly different route. So one day, I rode out on one of my minor diversions. When I came to a sign saying Guildford 20 miles I was baffled….. that can’t be right….. Farnham is only about 15 miles or so from Guildford, and I hadn’t gone through it! – It was about this time that I realised that there are 2 completely independent variables in the art of finding your way home. Distance and Direction. You can’t just get one of them right!

4 comments:

TRT said...

Put you in an aeroplane and then crash it on a remote tropical island and...

Jayster said...

Bearing in mind the following 3 facts, here is another example of my bizarre behaviour.

Fact 1 – my appalling sense of direction
Fact 2 – My appalling ability at performing mechanical maintenance
Fact 3 – My old Wolsley 1500 was already on it’s last legs*
• The car ran on constant neglect, had caught fire once, had an intermittent ignition problem, a clutch that I had repaired and it was jolly old!

A friend pointed out to me that my car was on it’s last legs, and was unlikely to make it up to London and back again – I couldn’t agree with that, and set out to prove him wrong…..So, I drove down to Dover, booked a Ferry, drove through France, and into Holland. I spent 2 weeks touring Holland - Mostly Amsterdam, but with a trip up to Leewarden, then a couple of days in Leverkeusen – (Germany), and drove back home again! –OK, so the steering failed on the motorway near Rotterdam, and the clutch cylinder blew at one point, and I had to repair the old rubber with glue to make it work again!..... BUT I did it, and I didn’t get lost!

TRT said...

And you went all that way just to get to somewhere in Devon???

robotjam said...

DJ - I think this is a man syndrome. I have a phobia of going back the way I came if I take a wrong turn. I always just carry on going to try and find an alternative route. Once on a return trip from reading to Bedford I got on the M1 the wrong way, how I am not sure.

It was a nice sunny day and I had some good music, it was only when I'd done about 70 miles up to coventry that I thought "hang on a sec I'm sure it wasn;t this far on the way".