A lovely day today. Pleasant conversations, got art done, killed a whole mess ‘o zombies* and generally enjoyed myself.
On the way back from having pizza with friends, I got lost. The Five Points area of Raleigh is a tangle of suburbs, and once I got off my beaten track, I was lost. I have no sense of direction whatsoever. Mapquest has literally changed my life.
(Oddly enough, this only applies to the real world. Find an ancient Amiga and load up Dungeon Master, and I could do a walkthough cold, without missing a beat. Could do most of the levels of Dark Forces, too. Possibly that burned up all the pathfinding neurons in my brain, and this is why I need step-by-step directions to go three blocks.)
Now, while my flaws outnumber my virtues by a goodly amount, one thing you gotta give me–I don’t sweat getting lost. Carlota once drove me to Charlotte by way of Fayetteville, and I was so cool with that you could measure it in Kelvin. We’re lost? Eh, we’ve got plenty of gas and good company, we’ll get there eventually, it’ll be an adventure. I brought beef jerky. Perhaps this nice officer will help us, yes? Another time, owing to a slight misreading of the map, we did the same ten mile patch of interstate three times, correcting and then re-correcting. It’s all good. (I believe it was this trait that convinced Carlota that a cross-country drive with me would be acceptable.)
I think I get this from my grandmother. She was forever going on road trips, and everyone went along with her because she oozed charisma in the same lethal quantities as Hitler or Alexander the Great. (Although I don’t know if either of them were fun. She was fun.) And she got lost, often, and did not sweat it, because hey, we had a full tank of gas and good company, it’d be an adventure, and the people who loved us would understand if we were late, and if they didn’t love us, they could go piss up a rope anyway.**
On the other hand, I don’t know if she ever tried to drive across Texas. She was an indomitable woman, but Texas is Texas. That would have been a battle of the titans, and no mistake.
So I wandered the suburbs of Raleigh for about twenty or thirty minutes, listening to bluegrass, gorgeous houses covered in Christmas lights sliding past me in the dark. After I exhausted my meagre direction sense–“Okay, if I turn left and cut across, I should come out at…um. Apparently not.”–I proceeded in the manner familiar to dungeon crawlers the world over. Go until you find a dead end. Go back to the last fork. Take the other path. Check for traps. Rinse. Repeat.
Three or four dead-ends later, the name of a road that I’d crossed a few times started to nag at my memory–“Anderson? Where have I heard that? Welcome to the Matrix…Mister…Anderson…no, that’s not it…”–and I took it. The wrong direction, as it turned out, but after awhile I knew I was nowhere near where I was supposed to be, and turned around again, and while I was looking for the road I had been on, to resume my suburban dungeon mapping (“Curses! Why is there no graph paper in the glove compartment!?”) I overshot it and wound up on the correct road, purely by accident.
So I got home at last, and all was right with the world.
*Fine, alien cultists, whatever. They act like zombies.
**I think my grandfather used to say that, actually…