I’m lost

After two years of Covid panic and the unending winter of 22 while we hid in our caves fearful
of contact with any other plague carrying human, are we ready to step back out into the real world? Is it time for a road trip? How many more booster shots before we can visit far flung friends and places once more? Well before we do it is time to revisit an observation from yesteryear.
Everyone knows that real men don’t ask for directions, but few know the real reason why. It’s
fear plain and simple. Not fear of being lost, or being wrong, or any minor shortcomings the fairer sex might heap upon us.
The real reason we males are more than reluctant to ask for directions is the overriding fear
some female might try to give us directions. That is a sure path to disaster.
For example, my late wife the Pearl of the Orient was a very talented lady, but directions and
reading maps were not her forte. A typical trip question after we had been traveling west for a half- day went something like this.
“So now we are at west, what direction is that?” she’d inquire earnestly, while pointing off
into the sunset. But in her defense, I must admit she was a real whiz at keeping the road maps folded neatly and keeping track of my faux pas.
Should the male take his wife’s advice- admittedly, a rare occurrence- and ask the cashier at
the gas station for directions, I’ll bet the response from the helpful lady behind the counter will go
something like this.
“… that place is just the other side of town. Go up the street to your right,” she says waving
her hand left, “up past Mrs. Johnson’s house. It’s the one with the gingerbread trim and the pink
“Then on past Mrs. Smith’s… she’s got that beautiful long porch, with the swing set, and the
fuchsia curtains, and turn right before the bridge,” she continues again waving her left arm….
You ask if she might draw you a little map. Mistake number two. This requires a group effort
with the other cashier and the food prep staff converging with a napkin and a tube of lipstick. Placing the napkin on the counter, they begin a cooperative work of art, rotating the napkin as lines are drawn and notations noted.
The matter finally comes to a head when the big fat biker dude waiting impatiently in line
behind you snarls, “Three blocks down the hill past the beer store and hang a left!”

You stammer your thanks and hurry off, leaving the staff all huffy about not appreciating their
Luckily things are changing, as Moe showed me on a recent trip in his new van. It was GPS
equipped and it only took the better part of two hours for me to get it up and running. The sarcasm
and running commentary from Giggles and the Pearl in the back spurred on my efforts. Finally, I got the home address in the gadget changed from California to Rainy River (I think all mini vans naturally home in on California- it’s a Grapes of Wrath thing)
From then on the little red arrow faithfully traced our course down the blue line of the
designated highway, except for a couple times when it showed we were driving through a cornfield.
Moe assured me we never left the pavement and sure enough we arrived at our destination without
once stopping for directions.
On the way home, I continued to tweak the new toy and found a menu that offered voice
prompts. I pushed OK and a chill of the coldest ice ran up and down my spine. The computer-
generated voice was definitely female. I lost all confidence and began putting it to the test.
“Prepare to turn left in one quarter mile’” it prompted politely.
“Turn left in 300 feet,” it soon added in a stronger tone.
“Turn left in 50 feet,” it ordered even more sternly
“TURN NOW! TURN NOW! TURN NOW!” the voice shrieks, beeps twice, and flashes an error
message as we cruise blithely on through the intersection.
“If possible make a legal U turn in 300 feet,” are the new orders, in a voice now dripping with
disdain. We ignore the new directions and continue homeward.
And so it went for the next four hours as I furiously programmed in mis-destinations and we
joyously ignored the voice prompts. The co-pilots in the back kept making pointed comments about boys and their toys.
But I think the system was learning from our truancy as we prepared to make the last left
turn, it directed us to “Turn right and proceed on past Mrs. Johnson’s house, the one with the
gingerbread trim and …”