I’ve always been skeptical that a person’s sense of direction is an empirically measurable thing, and that someone can have a better sense of direction than someone else. I’ve always tended to think that those with a self-professed “bad sense of direction” were just too lazy to think about what they have decided is someone else’s problem. Directions? That’s for the chauffeur to worry about. Not being able to read a map seems like it’s not some innate shortcoming but a product of indifference. And the ramifications of this fundamental negligence merely continue to multiply as the ability to orient oneself becomes more and more pertinent. To plead a poor sense of direction is to confess a craving for dependency.
Perhaps I’m unsympathetic to the directionally challenged because I’m never afraid to get lost. It strikes me as an inconvenience at worst and in most cases an opportunity for discovery. I usually don’t hesitate to take an exit, any exit, off a freeway if the road is congested—tangling with surface streets is all part of the fun and the only way to get to know a city. Getting to scrutinize maps is half the reason I take driving trips anywhere. I like unearthing short cuts, even when they are to places I’ll never need to go. I think makes me exude some sort of palpable navigational confidence, because I tend to get asked for directions in cities I am only visiting—even abroad in countries where I don’t speak the language.