The greater part of my life has been spent making u-turns while looking over my shoulder for the flashing blue lights of a vigilant cop. My story wouldn't even be concocted, "Sorry officer …no I haven't been drinking. I simply haven't got a clue where I am or how to get where I'm going."
But unlike most men who believe a sense of direction is as manly a genetic responsibility as facial hair and football idolatry, I don't really get all that mad anymore. Heck, I expect at least three wrong turns along my daily commute.
Granted, there are a few knuckle-shaped dents in the steering wheel of my Kia, but those had nothing to do with being a directional Mr. Magoo. Those are dedicated to the driving-while-texting crowd. It's because of them that I wish people's cell phones corresponded with their license plate numbers so we conscientious drivers could call these nincompoops and shoot 'em a verbal bird whenever a simple hand gesture won't do.
But I digress.
When I moved to a bigger city that required knowledge of more than one road — Quintard how I mourn thee — I was prepared for the inevitable confusion.
Take the other day for example. Like Gilligan, and with Jellybean serving as my Mary Ann in a car seat, I went out for a brief excursion. But one missed exit led to a literal three-hour tour around the outskirts of Columbus.
Even Jane, the disembodied voice of my TomTom navigational system, started getting testy. "Proceed onto the motorway," she said in a husky, computerized British accent. "Turn around … turn around now … Oh, where the bloody hell are you going?"
Eventually Jellybean and I found our way back to the cuddly cul de sac of Garrett Pines, but our odyssey wasn't complete. We had to actually find the right house.
At the risk of sounding snarky, I live in a cookie-cutter neighborhood. One of those streets where all the houses look alike save for the color brick or occasional evergreen oddity dressing up the contractor's formulaic landscape design.
Don't get me wrong. I love my house — its clean carpets, freshly painted walls, that new smell that no scent of Glade Air Wick can recreate — but driving down the street is like living in an echo. One house simply repeats the next and the next and the next all way down to the dead end.
But I have a weapon to combat this homogeny.
One thing keeps me from riding around and aiming my garage door opener at every house until I'm lucky enough to hit the right one — a giant concrete gargoyle, complete with snarling fangs and a link of broken chain dangling from his neck.
Not a lot of those guarding the mailboxes along Garrett Pines.
And I can't say it's been too inviting for the neighbors either. I saw one lady cross herself like a lapsed Catholic just for making eye contact — either with me or the gargoyle, whom I've named Gomez.
Truth be told, I'm cool either way.
Plus, it makes directing others to the Buckner abode that much easier. I just say, "If you catch a glimpse of a terrifying winged demon in your rearview mirror, you've gone too far."
Though I may have trouble finding my way home, I won't have any problem recognizing it when I get there.