Directionally Challenged

June 2013 029 I’m a hazard to myself when given charge of navigation. I admit it. After my most recent debacle, I’m ready for the 12-step program.

What might be the name of such a support group? Perennially Lost Anonymous?

It might not exist. Since future members couldn’t find the meeting location, organizers cancelled the meeting, assuming lack of interest. If they knew those of us who were directionally challenged, they would have made a bigger sign – sent out turn by turn directions. Okay, given us a tracking device – which is likely step one of the program.

Anyway, I had grand illusions of strolling through the art galleries in Munich while my husband worked. What else was there to do? I tried shopping, but I wasn’t really in the mood. *gasp*

I had a map. Alas, it didn’t have my actual destination on it, but how hard can it really be to locate an enormous art museum situated on a major thoroughfare?

Don’t answer that.

The disorientation came when I went below the ground. Riding the underground train, I slipped into the city, disembarking at the stop the travel guide recommended (did I mention that I didn’t bring the travel guide? I didn’t want the extra weight in my backback *pounds forehead with meat of her hand*).

Every underground station has a minimum of two exits. Which one should I take?

I decided to follow the mothers with elementary-aged children. They were going somewhere educational like a museum, right?

The first Munich museum
The first Munich museum

In the light of day again, I noticed a square with important looking buildings. These Greek temple-like buildings housed art exhibits of the Greek and Roman gods. They were very interesting. Too bad the tour groups weren’t conducted in English.

I wandered from room-to-room. A few of the largest signs actually had English translations. I purchased the two-museum ticket, so I hot-footed it in the rain across the street to another imposing structure. (Maybe this is right since the guide said a two-museum ticket was available).

Wishful thinking.

My stomach announced readiness for lunch. Time to go find some food.

Nothing. I walked to an obelisk (which saved me later), snapped some photos and chose another street. Walking down it, even in the rain, posed no disappointment. After all, this was an old country and every building had an architectural personality all its own.

The rain continued. My stomach resented the lack of food.

Some restaurants don’t take credit or debit cards either. My Euros are few since the museum didn’t refused credit cards, too. Many people don’t speak English. (I’m not surprised or offended. After all, I don’t speak German).

More steps. Raindrops mock me. I pass a U sign, but it isn’t a station on the line that will take me back to the hotel. My food-deprived brain spins, but can’t make a decision. The next stop should be better.

The next stop is not on the map I have. How can it not be on the map of the public transportation system?

Couples and families pass me, heading somewhere. Smiling, talking, hiding beneath their umbrellas.

I turn around. Please, God, just help me get to that U station and find the right train.

Theater Church in Munich. I did actually stop there to pray for directions.
Theater Church in Munich. I did actually stop there to pray for directions.

Three hours after my debacle began (when I left the museum in search of sustenance), the train slid into the station that was right outside our hotel. All I wanted to do was collapse on the hard bed (perfect for my husband) and cry. I’m such a loser.

My pride suffered a huge blow. Envisioning myself footloose and independent, I marched forward with head held high. Even after the mistaken museums, I imagined discovering my intended destinations.

Stumbling, bumbling, mumbling, this non-navigator realizes my independence is a liability when I’m in a strange city where I can’t read the signs or communicate with the passersby.

If you know of a place where directionally challenged people can get the help they need, I’m willing to join the support group.

Make sure you send me turn-by-turn directions (audio, with a warning signal if I deviate from the allotted path would be best).

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.