I have a freakishly accurate sense of direction.
I know, I know, I joke about getting lost in the suburbs or in the mall all the time, but those aren’t real places, so it doesn’t even matter. I swear somewhere inside me there’s a compass. I’d say it was in my heart if I were feeling particularly poetic.
SPOILER ALERT: I’m not feeling poetic. I’m feeling a sore throat coming on.
For a while I thought maybe it had to do with my past lives, because I’ve always felt a strong connection to Scotland and Ireland, and when I landed in Dublin for the first time ever in 2006, I dropped my bags off at my guesthouse, then walked out the front door and knew exactly where I was going. It actually scared me a bit.
But then I realized I can do that in most cities and that I’m just awesome.
OKAY FINE. That’s not true. I can’t navigate Vancouver to save my life. And I’ve been there SO many times. Also, driving in LA (as the passenger) and trying to figure out where we were while I had the flu scared me…
But sometimes I’m amazing!
One day, back when I was living in Glasgow, I was on my way out to hang out with my BFF Margaret. Now, technically, we both lived just off the same main street in Glasgow, but WAY far apart. I lived in a neighbourhood called Partick on Fordyce Street, a tiny close about half a block north of Dumbarton Road.
SIDENOTE: Finding this photo on Google image search made me cry because I miss Glasgow.
Mags lived in Clydebank, right on the city limits of Glasgow, about half a block south of Dumbarton Road.
But now I’m just being nostalgic and weird. Long story short, I could take a single bus down Dumbarton Road and get to her flat, easy peasy.
Except when I was being a flighty bitch and I didn’t bother reading the numbers on the bus.
You see, two of the busiest buses on Dumbarton Road are (were, at least) the 42 and the 62. And I was supposed to take the 62. I took the 62 into town almost every day, and I took the 62 to Margaret’s flat like, at least once a week, so the 62 was like, the bus version of my BFF. But when I was too busy texting to lift my chin fully and actually READ the bus number one day, I got onto the 42 instead. I had never been on the 42, and for a while, everything seemed fine. We were heading west on Dumbarton Road. Great. See you soon, Margaret!
But then the bus took a weird turn. I worried for a split second, but I saw some construction on the road, so I assumed we were on a slight detour and went back to my phone/book/whatever the fuck I was paying attention to.
(For the record, I feel pretty certain it wasn’t master’s degree related. It was probably a hilarious and politically incorrect text conversation with my friend Ian. Hi, Ian! Do you read my blog? Check one: yes, no, maybe.)
Then we kept going. We kept going up past my first flat – which was northeast of my current one – and then further into Anniesland, and then further, and further, and
OH MY GOD.
(That was when I noticed we weren’t headed back to Dumbarton Road.)
But I didn’t recognize anything, so I didn’t want to just get off the bus in the middle of nowhere. It looked a bit dodgy, and guys, Glasgow can be dodgy. Like, dangerous dodgy. And not dangerous like someone might look at you funny or shout that you’re hot or something, but dangerous like someone might stab you or chase you down the street or a small child may try to attack you when you refuse to buy them vodka. It’s great and I still think of it as home and everything, but you don’t want to end up in the wrong neighbourhood. (I actually have a really good story – okay, I have like, five or ten – about that that I’ll write another day.)
So I waited. And waited. And waited.
And then I started to freak out a little bit.
And then all of a sudden, the bus was driving through a really nice, quiet-looking neighbourhood, so I jumped off, assuming I could just cross the road and get onto the 42 going the opposite direction. Easy peasy.
There was no bus stop across the road.
So that was me, officially in the middle of fucking nowhere in Glasgow (or outside city limits, who knows?) with no address to give a taxi (and no taxis driving by in this quiet neighbourhood on a Sunday afternoon) and no buses in sight.
So I did what I had to do.
First I freaked out a tiny bit more. Broke a little sweat. Let my eyes tear up, but didn’t cry. Imagined a few ways I could die in the next hour. The usual.
Then I turned on my Spidey senses and realized I knew I was facing east, and so all I had to do was walk south to get to Dumbarton Road.
Guys, I don’t know how I knew. I just did. It was quite something. I don’t care if that’s bragging. I earned it.
I mostly earned it, because I walked for almost 45 MINUTES before I FINALLY saw it in the distance:
The Clydebank schemes.
Never thought I’d be so glad to see such ugly, crime-and-drug-riddled buildings in my life.
SIDENOTE: According to the Internet, the Clydebank high rises have been demolished! They went the way of the Gorbals schemes, I guess.
Margaret lived close by, so I knew I was walking in the right direction. Now that I knew (hoped?) I wasn’t going to die, I rang her up to let her know of my delay.
“Hey Margaret – funny story…”
“Oh no – are you still at home? Just leaving now?”
“No, that’s not it. I sort of got on the wrong bus.”
“Oh no! Where are you?”
“Somewhere north of Clydebank? I’ve been walking about 40 minutes, but I finally see where I am, so I’ll be there soon.”
“Oh my god! Okay! Are you okay? Do you need us to meet you somewhere?”
“No, I’m good, I see the school, and the train station.”
“Okay, okay – we’ll see you in a sec!”
By the time I got there, I was basically ready to go home and sleep.
But hey, that was the day I confirmed my navigational skills are rockin’.*
*Yeah, I said rockin’. Deal.**
**Yeah, I said deal. Deal***
***Times infinity. BAM.