By Marie Tschopp
I have a peculiar problem. It takes me five whole minutes just to back my car out of the garage. No matter how careful I am when I pull my vehicle inside, I cannot back it out straight. I had no trouble exiting when I drove a compact car, but my width and depth perception vanished when I purchased an SUV. I start backing out and realize I’m too far to the right and about to smash into the door jamb with the right side mirror. I pull up and try again. This time I am too far to the left and in danger of disembodying the left side mirror, so I pull in once more. To anyone watching, my car is performing the cha-cha. And the dance continues for four minutes more.
Finally, I make it out of the garage only to face the sloping driveway. My SUV is much longer than my former hatchback, and I have trouble seeing the tilt of the driveway over the backseat. I look over my shoulder and notice I’m about to back into the mailbox. I adjust the wheel and head straight for the culvert. I adjust the wheel again. If my neighbors judged my tire tracks, they’d say I have a drinking problem.
Okay. I am out of the garage, down the driveway and on the road, but all is not well. I get lost easily. “Directionally impaired” is the term I use, and I’m thinking of petitioning Congress about this condition to request funding—God knows I need it with all the gas I burn. When I bought my SUV, my husband noticed the compass on the dashboard. “Look!” he said. “You will never get lost again!” Yeah, right. Giving a directionally impaired person a compass is like giving a dyslexic a dictionary. To us, the “N” means “Not this way.” “S” is “So sorry.” “E” stands for “Exactly where you don’t want to be.” And the “W” is “Wrong again.”
Directionally impaired people need directions with landmarks such as, “Turn left at the pink house with the plastic pig lawn ornaments.” Without landmarks, people like me drive in circles until we run out of gasoline. That is, of course, if we manage to make it out of the garage, down the driveway and onto the street.
On and off the road, I’ve learned to rely heavily on GPS—God’s Protective Surveillance. God knows where I am, where I’m going, the best route, and what time I’ll arrive. All I need to do is look up, relax and enjoy the ride.