I hung out with a friend in The Mission last night. We met at an awesome wanna-be biker's bar, Zeitgeist, for a drink to get the party started. Zeitgeist has a large outdoor patio area that takes on the feel of a family picnic as people chat in small groups that intersect and grow as the beer pours. Nice.
Anyway, I had a great evening...but, one of my many, uh, quirks reared its ugly head. No, it's not a quirk, it's a disability and should not be frowned upon, pointed out, or gasped at. No finger pointing allowed!
You see, a chunk of my brain is missing. I was born without a gyroscopia lobius -- that part of the frontal lobe that contains one's sense of direction. Therefor, I have none. You must understand that the brain has no sympathetic or compensatory functions for the gyroscopia lobius (I think I'm spelling that right, but don't quote me), so if you lose it, or were born without it like me, well, you're hosed. My doctor told me it's a wonder I can walk -- in fact, he wanted to do further, invasive studies on me, and as a babe, he offered my parents quite a bit of money to "purchase" me for his own nefarious experiments. My mom, having had a difficult delivery with me, reluctantly passed on the generous offer, but I was reminded, time and time again during my terrible 2s through my terrible teens, that they could have sold me. Really humbles a guy.
Okay, that said, never, and I mean never, give me VERBAL directions. My brain doesn't have the equipment to process them and the words spin around up there, interfering with other thoughts, thought processes, and even some physical motor functions, until they decay, which takes a lot more time than you'd expect.
That said, I can use maps, though my doctors are a bit confused by that. They believe that a different center (can't remember the scientific name for it) processes "read" directions and I'm able to access them by memory. It's not a true understanding of how things are laid out in physical space, but more a recitation of purpose.
So there you have it. Don't be sorry for me or avoid me out of embarrassment or guilt, because I've leaned to manage it. Really. And when I'm three hours late for an appointment 1.5 miles from my home, and I come up with some vague, nonsensical reason why I'm tardy, well, chances are I actually left early for the appointment, knowing my limitations, but still managed to arrive incredibly late. So, now you know.
UPDATE: You know when you're driving and you come across an accident or a detour -- something you have to go around? You just need to leap ahead a block and be back on your way? So you turn off, intending to get right back on a block or so down the road, past the obstruction. That scenario used to terrify the hell out of me, because I will end up lost 50% of the time. Seriously. Now, I've learned to live with my disability, I look at getting lost as an adventure (: