My lack of navigational skill is notorious. I once had to ride my bike home from work, three miles from my house, from a place that I drove to very frequently, and took a wrong turn down the wrong grael road and managed to wander 3 extra miles out of my way. My directional sense is that bad.

However, I still tend to overestimate my skill. This Christmas, I had to find my friends house, which is 40 minutes away and in territory that I don’t know at all, and I have never been there before. I thought I would have the GPS, and everything would be easy-peasy. But apparently my dad had it.

But that didn’t matter! I’d just print out mapquest directions and I’d be set. Foolproof plan right?

Well… long story short… not so much. I didn’t really look at the directions before I left, so I was trying to read them while speeding down the highway. And I knew I was looking for exit 11, to Carlisle Pike. Understandably, when I saw an exit for highway 11, I took it. But it didn’t make sense. And there was no Carlisle Pike. I got really confused and started getting on and off various highways, turning around, thinking that maybe if I re-approached it from the original direction, I’d get it right this time.

After driving around for a good half hour, I sighed and pulled into an empty parking lot. The map I printed out with my directions was fairly useless because I forgot to zoom in on the part I needed. However, when looking at the map, I realized something. You see, I had to cross the river, and then drive a while on 83 until I got to 11. But I had exited on 11 immediately after I crossed the bridge. Baffled, but realizing that I had exited too soon, I regathered my confidence and set out again. Turns out, 11 crosses 81 not once, but twice. How the hell was I supposed to know that?!

Finally, I arrived at Erin’s house, a good half hour late. We promptly got lost going to the movie theater as well, though that wasn’t my fault because I didn’t know the area. Amazingly, we managed to walk into the movie, Megamind (which is ridiculously funny by the way), right as the title flashed across the screen. Perfect timing, and no annoying previews! Score! The theater was really cool too; it was an old school theater that you paid for outside, and then you went into the single huge theater. It was pretty sweet.

Then I had to drive home. Well, I thought I had a general idea of where I was going… so I decided to just keep driving and not go back the way the directions said because I knew the general direction. Well, I drove for a while down the wrong road, until I realized that just because the roads ran parallel did not mean I would be able to get back. So, I swallowed my pride and followed the directions back.

Until it came to crossing the river again. There was a bridge I thought I knew that crossed the river at a different place, and I was pretty sure it was the one we took to church every morning, and I figured I’d know how to get home from there.

It was not the right bridge. It took me into downtown Harrisburg. Well, I needed to get to the other side of Harrisburg, so why not just drive straight through? So, I exited and proceeded to drive through the sketch city of Harrisburg. At night. Fun times. But eventually I saw a road I recognized! Excited, I took that highway. And drove. For a while. Until I finally realized that yes, I was on the right road, but going the absolute wrong direction. Exasperated at my lack of common sense, I turned around, and finally made it home.

Overall, I wasted at least an hour of my life getting lost that night. The moral of this story? Emily needs a GPS. No question.

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