Friday, November 05, 2004

(N)ever (E)at (S)our (W)atermelon

When I lived in Chicago, I had a great* sense of direction; I always knew where I was in relation to the lake, and, hence, everything else. Maybe being on foot had something to do with it, but I got rarely got lost in Chicago.**

I get lost all the time in Dallas, and it’s not just going to new places. I’ll think I know a “shortcut” to get home from my apartment, and I’ll end up in Arlington (I always end up in Arlington – how does that work?) I suppose it doesn’t help when “the West End” is east of downtown, and “East Dallas” is north of downtown, and downtown is south(???) of Colleyville, and there are no large bodies of water to act as directional magnets.

When I was in school, I had a pretty awesome directional sense, and I don’t just mean that in an “I’m facing south and I need to walk east (sense the lake sense the lake) aha! turn left” kind of way. I mean in an “I have a five-year plan, and keep outlines and spreadsheets and lists of attainable goals” kind of a way. Even toward the end when everyone else was tapering out, I was uber-direction-oriented: driven, optimistic, a little cutthroat, and more than a little neurotic. Now that I think about it, I probably scared a few people. Ah, well.

Unfortunately, the lethal combination of AssPubs and the outrageous cost of living in Chicago sent my sense of direction (in life, that is) into a tailspin, and now I’m here, where I don’t feel nearly as driven, and where I get (actually, physically) lost all the freakin’ time. I still have goals, and I’m still more driven*** than a lot of people, but I find that I’m getting comfortable, taking little shortcuts, and getting lost all over again.

So I’ve decided to look at this whole Dallas stint as nothing more than a minor detour (not accidental, but certainly not in the five-year plan.) It’s an economic detour, for sure, but it’s also kind of a regrouping detour. I know I’m going back to Chicago (the lake has a magnetic effect on me here, too; it’s just not quite strong enough to direct me away from Arlington) but it couldn’t hurt to stop, get my footing, and maybe (gasp) ask for directions for once.

* A message to those of you saying, “How is that possible?!”: zip it bi-otch!
** Except that one time. And here I should issue an apology to my mom, whom I called, cell phone battery on its last little life bar, to tell that I had walked 15 blocks west of the El station, couldn’t find a bus stop, and was standing on a concrete island in the middle of an intersection “in the ghetto,” asking people in with their windows rolled down for directions. (The ghetto part was maybe a little dramatic. Really I was near Diversey Lanes Rock’n’Bowl, which, in fairness to me, doesn’t need much to achieve full-on ghetto status.)
*** Maybe if I was (actually, physically) driven, I wouldn’t (actually, physically) get lost all the time. Something to look into…