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This is my personal weblog where I get to be as crabby as I want to be.

1.29.2006

On a Lack of Direction

This weekend my son had a two day soccer tournament in Sacramento CA. This meant driving, and lots of it. Normally Yahoo maps is a brick. Other directions suck. This time, Yahoo let me down. I tried the new maps beta. It sure looks pretty, but there's a reason it's still beta. First, getting the driving directions was a nightmare. The interface was horrible and the direction area too small. Trying to print them was even worse. Oh, dear. Well, I managed to blunder onto printing. The next morning, I see that the directions use North and South. Oh, no. I have no ability whatsoever to discern compass directions unless the sun is directly in my face. Sunrise and Sunset? Yes. Anything else and forget it. I am also Left Right challenged. As it happens, I do a LOT of stuff left-handed, even though I'm mostly right-handed. And, I suspect there's a wee bit of dyslexia (two siblings are diagnosed and quite badly affected) When I get tired, I start reversing d p b q etc AND I will often pick up a pen left-handed and start writing without realizing I've switched hands.

My point is that turn left, right or whatever works OK as along as I have plenty of time to confirm I am not confusing my lefts and rights. But North South? No. Not in a bazillion years.

So, the directions to the Soccer Complex were not only compass directions but WRONG. Completely wrong. They referenced highways and Interstates that, to my near certain knowledge, do not exist in the area. I know that because I was lost on them several times this weekend and never once saw any of the ones that were in the directions. The website for the Soccer Complex itself failed to mention which city it was in. It did, however, mention a street. So, I drove perhaps 20 miles past my destination, and then drove around stupidly for quite a while trying to get back to a place prior to whatever mistake I made. But then I saw an exit that referenced the aforementioned street. Desperate, I took it. It is a very long street and I was very far (as I later learned) from the end I needed to be on. I passed a freeway entrance that, suffice it to say, proved that the instructions were completely wrong as I did not need any of the middle part (that didn't exist anyway, as far as I know).

We arrived and one thing that went right was that I parked on the street instead of paying $5.00 for parking. This was a stroke of brilliant luck as I ended up facing opposite the massive traffic jam of people trying to leave the complex and, due to having been lost previously, knew a "secret" way out.

The directions from the soccer complex to the hotel were even more massively wrong. I didn't even attempt to use them as only one of the referenced streets existed. Someone had given me their directions from the hotel to the complex, with the hope that I could just do the opposite. Less than two minutes after setting out I was lost. (Here's how it goes... Carolyn knows she is left right confused. I am doing the opposite, so if the directions say left, I go right, only which way is Right? Left? Right? Or the other left?) Sigh. So, I decided I would be best off if I were lost in downtown Sacramento and having been lost before and seeing the freeway exits and on-ramps, I drove to the first exit that said Sacramento. And, indeed, I was soon lost in downtown Sacto. From which I could call the hotel and beg for rescue. Those instructions, too, were flawed as she sent me down a street that does not go to the one I needed to get to. But then, eventually, I was lost on that street, and I just drove until we found the hotel.

Getting back to the soccer complex was, also, no better. I had no way of reversing my route because I was hopelessly lost before with mostly no idea where I was. I checked the regular yahoo directions (better, but not perfect) and realized the first half was telling me to drive in a circle, hitting the same street twice. The hotel gave me better directions and I made it within 5 miles of my destination and then went right instead of left. The problem is everything looked familiar because I had been lost there just yesterday. So I drove farther than I should have before turning around.

Directions need to offer an alternative so that people who don't feel for my pain can have their dumb north south crap and others can have Left Right and still others can have Turn Left and if the street numbers aren't getting smaller, then you should have taken the other left.

And, no, I cannot afford a GPS because I'm getting a Chihauhua next weekend.

General Crabbiness Level: Off the Charts.

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