I’m Building New Neurons

Pennsylvania Route 66

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Pat (my husband) and I have had this ongoing battle for most of our 30 years of marriage – and probably all of our dating years too – concerning how to get to certain places.  I’m not talking about if we are going to ride or walk or even take a plane (although there are times when we have that argument also – especially about driving versus flying!) – but which streets to take, where to turn and how long it will take to get there.  When it comes to getting directions or asking for directions, my husband is a stereotypical male – he figures he knows where the place is, he’s seen it before (he usually can’t remember when – but he has seen it), someone has given him ‘general directions’ or my personal favorite – ‘how hard can it be – you’ve found it before!’

I have tried being his navigator – but I’m not very good at looking at maps, reading street signs and trying to be nice to the numbskull sitting in the driver’s seat all at the same time!  Plus, you can’t discount the fact that as I get older, the lettering on the maps has gotten smaller and I swear those street signs must be worn out because they are so blurry!  The numbskull hasn’t changed – but all of my tools to get us to the right spot are getting too hard to use! 

To make matters worse, Pat doesn’t like taking instructions from me concerning where to turn and what street to take.  I don’t know if it is the sound of my voice or the fact that I’m right most of the time – he has developed a habit of arguing with me every time I tell him where to turn – even when his way could lead to disaster.  For example, one night we were leaving a parking garage downtown and he wanted to turn right coming out of the garage and I told him he had to turn left.  He argued with me and then finally ignored me and went the direction he wanted to go.  Not a good idea – that’s when a driver coming right at him yelled “You’re going the WRONG direction!”  This probably wouldn’t have been all that embarrassing if it hadn’t been for the fact that the vehicle which was coming at us was a horse and carriage!  Silly man!

I thought some of our problems would be solved when my son gave us a GPS – a Tom Tom to be exact.  It worked great!  I could enter the address and a lovely voice would tell me how far it was to the next turn, when to get on the interstate and when we had reached our destination.  Of course, we did have to change the voice to male gentlemen from England – Pat wasn’t going to listen to any woman give him directions – and he just liked the sound of the English gentleman.  It sounded so nice when he would say ‘enter the motorway’.  Then, Pat wouldn’t use it in town or when he thought he knew how to get there because that would be a waste of time and effort – so we still get lost in town!

We do always find our way – we may have taken the longest route there and seen parts of the city no one else has ever seen – but we eventually get there.  And according to Pat, he read an article where taking a route other than your usual builds new neurons and helps your brain resist Alzheimer’s.  He may be building new neurons with his antics – but he’s killing off lots of mine!


2 responses »

  1. I am more like your husband than you. Except I don’t get lost. If I have been there before, I can usually get there again. If I am coming from a different direction, I may take the long way around, but my philosophy is “I don’t get lost. I just keep driving until something looks familiar!” If it is a new destination, I will look at a map (paper or mapquest) or call for directions before setting out. Most times, that is enough.

    My partner, on the other hand, is NOT good with directions. Last year’s Christmas present was a GPS, and it has saved time and gas on numerous occasions!

  2. Buying a Tom-Tom quite possibly saved my marriage! Well, maybe not, but it sure cut down on the fierce fights I used to have with my husband in the car.

    I am usually the driver, as he doesn’t like to drive (he grew up in cities and never had a car). So he is the navigator. Usually our fights were over him having the map in his lap, looking out the window at the scenery while I drove, and me whizzing past what I thought was supposed to be our exit. Me screaming, weren’t we supposed to get off there? Him saying I don’t know, looking at the map but, having not paid attention to it, not knowing where we were, taking 5 minutes to get oriented, us pulling off, me taking the map and trying to figure out how to get back to the exit we were supposed to take, or trying to find an alternate way to get where we were going . . .

    So I bought a Tom-Tom. Now the only argument is when he says, oh, let’s not go the way “she” says, let’s go — and I say , NO, we’re using the f*cking thing, that’s why I bought it! It might not be perfect, but it’s still a lot better than our old arrangement!

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