Not a paper bag in sight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 16, 2002

I’ve heard it said there are certain people who could get lost in a paper bag. I am convinced I am one of those people.

I get lost everywhere I go. I can be going somewhere the first time or the 100th, it really doesn’t matter &045; chances are I will end up on my cellular phone calling someone and frantically asking them for directions. Doesn’t matter if I have them written down in the car or someone has told them to me.

There’s something about that live person on the other end of the line, telling me to drive to the sound of their voice that seems to help. The problem is, I’ve been lost so many times that everything looks familiar to me.

&uot;This has got to be the right way because I have driven past that store before,&uot; I think to myself, only to later learn I drove past that store when I was lost … again.

Case in point: Last night, my boyfriend Greg and I met in Decatur for dinner. We went to a restaurant on Bank Street.

&uot;Do you know how to get there?&uot; he asked, well aware of my penchant for getting lost.

&uot;Yes, I’ve been to Bank Street. I know right where I’m going,&uot; I replied.

&uot;I will keep my cell phone with me, since I bet you will be calling me in about 20 minutes saying you’re lost,&uot; he said.

I was determined not to call him. I drove around, certain that I was heading in the right direction. About 10-15 minutes into my search, I realized I was getting myself confused. Refusing to break down and call Greg, I instead called the restaurant.

The person who answered the phone did their best to talk me through the directions, but they used tricky phrases like &uot;go north&uot; and &uot;head south.&uot;

Finally, I called Greg.

&uot;I told you,&uot; he said.

I hate it when he’s right.

He talked me through the directions, using techniques he knew I would understand.

&uot;Go to the shoe store and then turn right at the light. Keep straight &045; I know the road curves &045; but you just keep going forward. There, you can see me out in front of the restaurant, waving you down,&uot; he said.

And there he was. I had arrived. At last.

There’s a famous, or rather infamous, story in my family about the time my mother and I went to visit my brother in Huntsville. We left from Birmingham, traveling up (that’s north for the rest of you) on Interstate 65.

We got off at the Cullman exit to get something to eat and then got back on the interstate and drove right back to Birmingham. We didn’t even realize we were going in the wrong direction until we saw Vulcan on the hill.

At least I can say I came by it honestly