Blog: Navigationally Challenged

Burt Ross

I must confess: I am navigationally challenged. I don’t begin to know how I ever get anywhere without all this new technology. I can’t even get out of my own driveway and down to Pavilions without hooking up to a satellite near Pluto telling me how to make the two-minute drive.

I come by my directional skills or, more accurately, lack thereof, quite honestly. My dad always drove, and there was nothing my mother enjoyed more (figuratively and literally) than telling him where to go and where to get off. She was once directing him from Montreal to Toronto with one slight problem — they were supposed to be going to Quebec City. For those of you who are not familiar with Canada, never try going from Montreal to Quebec City via Toronto — believe me on this one.

My one and only brother, Phil, like me, takes after Mom. He and I went on a fishing trip and we landed in Vancouver. (You can’t keep the Ross family out of Canada.) I drove and Phil navigated. The lodge was pretty much due east from the airport. About half an hour into our drive I happened to notice a large billboard proclaiming: “Go, Seahawks, Go!” Now, as I have noted, I am not on the top of my game when it comes to getting places, but even I know that Seattle is in America, and America is south of Canada.

“Phil,” I shouted, “I think we are heading in the wrong direction.” He seemed unconcerned, “Don’t worry about it.” When he says not to worry is exactly when I start to worry. Another 10 minutes passed, and I saw an ominous warning, “Five miles to the United States border,” the sign read. It took us three hours to get to the lodge, which was supposed to be only a bit more than an hour from the airport. 

After years of losing my way, I did what any self-respecting man would do — I married right. My bride has an uncanny sense of direction. She can actually read a map and understand it. If we are in the middle of the jungle on a dirt road, she takes one look at the map and declares, “Honey, in 2.3 miles you will notice a Coca-Cola sign,” and sure enough you can bet your bottom dollar that in precisely 2.3 miles that sign will be exactly where she predicted it would be. 

If my bride had sailed with Christopher Columbus, we would all be in India just like he originally intended, and we would be eating lots of curry. If I had accompanied Columbus, we’d still be looking for land.