Being retired, I have the unique privilege of doing basic research to support my claims.
I have spent many years hiking in the High Sierras, Nevada desert, Yellowstone Park, Washington North Cascades, and Oregon’s Three Sisters. Not just your normal weekends, but backpacking for a week or two at a time (mostly weekends by count). I think by conservative standards I have clocked somewhere around 11,000 hours.
Now of course, this includes sleeping, eating, and resting…so let’s say we cut the number in half. That means 5,500 hours of staring at a map, trying to find ribbons in the trees, deciding with my gut which trail to choose, sometimes making my own trail when there wasn’t one.
In all those hours I have never been lost. If I had, my bones would still be out there, in summer sun, and winter snow.
In fairness, I have been woefully misdirected for a few days… but never lost!
A few months back, I was driving home alone at night. I wasn’t using my brights in the neighborhood, and we live far back, so there are multiple turns, left and right.
They are arranged in a pattern that you memorize if you are returning from the normal route. But there are several ways to come home, and several patterns to remember. I must point out that there are no street lamps and on moonless nights it is a challenge.
So, on this night I made several left right left turns, and then suddenly I was at a dead end. Not the right dead end, but a completely different dead end. I can now understand the drunk that entered a stranger’s house because he was tired. I was tempted.
But I don’t drink! I also had no clue to back out to where I had made the mistake. I resorted to firing up my GPS, and I was only blocks from my home.
Okay, I still wasn’t lost, because I got home.
We all have “brain farts” where we can’t remember a name, or some sort of common data. Once, in high school I forgot how to spell “a”, and I couldn’t even remember the first letter. (That sounds like a stroke now!) But I recall it was a significant day when my father-in-law could no longer visit us, because he couldn’t remember, and that was in the daytime.
With age, it can creep up on you, there is an issue with various forms of dementia. It probably is at the back of most people’s minds until it suddenly presents its self as a serious question.
I’m not obsessing about it because I have taken a few steps to get a little warning.
A few seasons back I got a present of a large collection of Sudoku puzzles. A very thoughtful gift, because someone had noticed that I play Sudoku on my phone/iPad.
What they didn’t know is that I hate Sudoku. I’m not a big game player in any case. All the PlayStation stuff, or even Mario, just passed me by.
But Sudoku was different, it had numbers associated with the timing and strategy of play. I fail miserably at the strategy, but I have been consistent in the numbers.
If I score somewhere close, plus or minus, to 80,000 then I probably won’t get lost driving home. It’s a great check on my system. If I forget a book title, or a name, then I play a round of Sudoku, and everything is fine!
Isn’t it amazing how well we neutralize our fears? Now, if only I could remember where I put my phone.