I have absolutely no directional sense. Tell me to head west, and I will just look at you. I have no concept of which way west is. I do, however, know how to get anywhere using southern directions. What are southern directions? Simple. Southerners can get anywhere if you tell them what the place is near. You have to give us a landmark. Link the place we are headed to something we've seen or visited before and we can get there. Give us road names, numbers, latitude, or longitude and we'll be circling until we find another southerner to tell us where the place really is.
This evening, my son had a softball game at a specific church softball field. Where is that? Somewhere toward Pelzer, he said. When I get there, I'll call and tell you how to get there. You see, Taylor has perfect directional sense. From the time he was about seven, he was telling me which way to turn on road trips and he was always right. Tonight, he called and told me which direction to head - not west, but go toward the new high school. Not go 2.5 miles past that and turn right, but go until you see the Country Kitchen and then turn. The field's on the left on that road. It was! I arrived without getting lost because he spoke my language.
My only complaint with Taylor's directions was that he told me to turn at the Country Kitchen, and that is indeed what the business is called today. It is a small restaurant located in an old general store. In my mind, however, that building and the one across the street from it will forever be known as Casey and Campbell's. I almost missed the turn because Taylor had used the actual name and not what it was called in my mind. Southerners use the landmarks in their brains to find places, not necessarily what is actually there. One of my northern friends does a great impression of me giving directions illustrating this point. He says I gave directions to a local restaurant this way. Go down this road and turn by the yellow house where my best friend lived growing up... Well, I don't think the house is yellow anymore but it used to be a beautiful shade of yellow. My friend's mom loved the color and painted the entire house that color. What color is the house now? I don't know. It was beautiful though. How am I supposed to turn by a house I have never seen that I don't even know what color it is? Ummmmm... I think there used to be a huge tree in the front yard too. Needless to say, he used GPS. It really was a pretty shade of yellow though.
I give the best directions to my friends and family because the landmarks are event landmarks that have absolutely nothing to do with maps. Go toward that house where we almost hit that dog that time..... or You remember where we stopped and bought those boiled peanuts that day?.... or You remember when we were singing that song so loudly and those people looked at us like we were nuts? That's where the store is. Southern friends can drive right to those spots.
For the record, I love GPS. It's like a friend is sitting right there figuring out where I am supposed to turn. I am a big fan of MapQuest because it can get me right to where I need to go. I can use these directions if I pay very close attention to them. Of course, on the way home, I am looking for the store with the weird sign out front or the place that we stopped to get gas. I can't help it.... My brain is southern.