Men, Women and Directions: The Truth

In a mobile society, there is one thing everyone is going to need at some point in their life. Directions. Between sub-divisions popping up like mushrooms after a rain, highway construction never being able to stay ahead of the traffic load and politicians renaming sections of highway, it’s anyone’s guess how we ever manage to find our way to any destination!

You’ve heard the old joke that the difference between a woman and a man is that the man will never ask for directions. Well, I suppose that’s frequently true, but women don’t get off scott free. Doubt me? Follow along and you’ll see what I mean.

Men, of course, have this notion that they never get lost. Or at least they won’t admit it. But I’ve got news for you. They do get lost…and sometime the fact becomes legendary. Probably the most famous example is Wrong Way Corrigan. Back in 1938 (even before my time), he took off in a Curtiss Robin airplane with the intention of flying non-stop from New York City to Long Beach, California. Instead, due to fog, he turned the wrong way and ended up in Dublin, Ireland, making him a legend in his own time.

I’ve even done it myself. Managed to get thoroughly lost driving from Ft. Worth to a friend’s house in Dallas. At night. And I’d never been to Dallas before. Before I was done, I’d spent four hours driving, went thru downtown Dallas three times and eventually wound up about ten miles south of Grand Prairie on a two-lane farm to market road before I finally figured out where I was in order to get back home. Never did find my friend’s house that night. In case you’re wondering if I ever stopped to ask for directions, the answer to that one is….no.

Women, on the other hand, will definitely ask directions. The problem is that so many of them don’t have a clue as to what a compass direction is. Instead of being able to tell them to drive west for three miles, look for the Whataburger on the northeast corner of the street, then turn south on that same street, you have to take a slightly different approach. “Don’t confuse me with compass directions”, they say. “Do I turn left or right?” Aarrrgh!

The problem with this approach is that whether you turn left or right depends entirely on which direction you’re going in the first place. In the example above, you would turn left to go south and the Whataburger would be on your right. But, if you’re driving the other direction, you’d turn right to go south and the Whataburger would be on your left.

That’s enough to give you a mental hernia, but there’s another situation that’ll produce a triple hernia of the mind. Try giving directions to someone who’s lost and on their cellphone wanting you to tell’em how to go…and they can’t use compass directions! First, you gotta figure out where they are. And that ain’t easy.

To begin with, you have to wait for them to spot a sign that identifies the road they’re on. But you still don’t know what direction they’re going. For that, you have to wait till they find another sign on a cross-street and sometimes a second one in order to figure a direction. Then you can finally start pointing them the right way.

Even that doesn’t always solve the problem due to the fact that various highways and streets wind up with two or three different names, depending on the particular section of the road you’re on, or the municipality the road is located in.

But, later or sooner, you finally manage to get’em into an area that they’re familiar with and all is right with the world again. Even if they don’t know compass directions.

Now, can anyone give me directions to the Dairy Queen in Weatherford, Texas? You know, the one that’s just a little ways down the road after you pass the thingy you have to stop at because it’s blinking red? If you know the one I’m talking about, I’d appreciate the help.

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