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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Geographically Inept


I’ve been living in Los Angeles for a couple of decades and still I get befuddled when I need to go some place. I try to visualize my destination, the street, the cross street and the general area but it all becomes a blur. 

I’m geographically inept. After two decades I should know more than I do. 

When I bike to the gym I zig-zag the side streets to avoid traffic and being run over by a careless driver who’s too busy texting to pay attention to the road. When a friend recently asked what streets I take to get there all I said was, “It’s right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, and then left.” 

I have been living for seven years on the corner of Wayne Avenue (or is it Wayne Street?) and Los Feliz Boulevard. After seven years I cannot tell you the name of the street at the top of the hill (one short block north) or the street that’s one block west of me. I haven’t a clue.  

This past Sunday I was riding my bike along the LA river and as I veered away from the river and towards Griffith Park another bicyclist stopped me for directions. He was looking for Riverside Drive.  We were on Riverside Drive and all I had to tell him was which way to go on Riverside Drive. Instead I sent him along another road in the opposite direction. 

I realized my geographical error moments later but he was already power-pedaling away and too far for me to catch up. I felt bad. Real bad. 

That night I had a nightmare I was lost and I asked another bicyclist for directions.  The friendly bicyclist confidently told me which way to go. 

I pedaled and pedaled and pedaled until my legs were sore and my ass cheeks aching from the horrible bike seat... and I continued pedaling and pedaling and pedaling.... and the sky suddenly turned dark and scary... still I pedaled and pedaled... and pedaled off a cliff... screaming.... and as I was desperately pedaling to avoid falling to my death I awoke in a pool of sweat. 

I hope and pray the Sunday bicyclist isn’t still out there pedaling aimlessly, dehydrated and lost. 

From now on whenever anyone asks me for directions I am going to feign a foreign accent, shake my head and shrug, and tell them I’m a tourist. 

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