A Conversation for Not Getting Lost on Your Way to Somewhere New

No Subject

Post 1

CAT

My wife does the navigating. We always get lost on the way there.

Of course it's not always (never) her fault, because

a) I passed the map to her upside down.

b) The signage wasn't clear enough

c) She meant left, despite saying right


etc etc etc.

I like to look at the positive side of this though, and I often look back with great joy at all the new places she's taken me.


No Subject

Post 2

MaW

I wrote this entry after a terrible experience trying to find an archery shop which is just north of Braintree (Essex, UK) and it was my Dad who was navigating for the first hour and a half (I was driving). However, I navigated for the next hour and a half as we drove round and round and round and round... It was however worth it as I got some lovely new arrows... And I haven't broken any of them yet! (Or is that the fateful phrase?)


Navigators

Post 3

stragbasher

I am continually amazed at the number of 'navigators' who can't read a map or tell left from right. Have you ever followed directions only to be told "No! Other Left!"?

Asking people for directions can also be very frustrating because a lot of people navigate by reference to obscure landmarks that you won't notice - Aunt Flo's favourite flower shop which is hidden behind the huge one-of-a-kind technicolour sculpture you haven't been told to watch out for - and of course there are usually 3 buildings/ bridges or whatever that fit the description of the landmark you're looking for before you even get to the right one.

In the USA mapmaker RandMcNally has a computerised road atlas/routeplanner that can be linked to your Global Positioning System (US$80) allowing your laptop to always know where you are, and the 'best' way to where you want to go. Presumably the next step is to add a voice system so you can argue with your Navigator as if it was a real person. I bet it won't use the direction system I and my girlfriend use to avoid mistakes - "my side" and "your side"


Navigators

Post 4

Cheerful Dragon

Normally I'm quite good at navigating, provided that the map is up-to-date. I think there are two reasons why some women AREN'T good at navigating:

a) They weren't taught to map-read at school. It was part of geography in my day, which is one reason why I can do it fairly well.
b) They can't reason spatially, so they have trouble relating the lines and symbols on the map to the roads they are driving along. This would apply to most women, even those taught to map-read. This may also explain why a woman says 'Left' when she means 'Right'.

I would be interested if some one did an experiment to find out if women really are worse than men at navigating, given similar standards of map-reading tuition, or whether it's a male-perpetuated myth. After all, how often do we here about the times that a man got a group of people lost?

My worst experience of navigating was when I had to get myself from Redditch to the Thompson-Marconi site in Rochester, Kent. The journey down to Rochester was trouble-free. The problems started when I tried to use the map I'd been sent to find my way to the site. None of the 'landmarks' shown on the map were where they were supposed to be - at least, I didn't pass any of them. The road numbers and road layouts didn't match reality, and one road that was shown as connecting two others was actually blocked at one end! I arrived at Rochester with an hour to spare before my interview, and spent the entire hour driving round and round trying to find the place! Needless to say, I complained when I finally arrived, but nobody would accept responsibility for the map. It's just one they send out!


Navigators

Post 5

Weatherwax

Women not good at navigating? There's an interesting question for a survey (maybe). I would like to propose an alternative theory that men are more likely to get lost because they are too stubborn to ask for directions.


Navigators

Post 6

stragbasher

My girlfriend is better at 'visualising' than I am, and is usually more ready to ask for directions.

On the other hand I'm better at left, right, north, south etc.

I think women have equal opportunity to learn to read a map, and saying that you didn't because it's part of geography is hardly a good excuse. Since when has geography been something that women can't do?

If this entry was about parking would you argue that you never learned because it's part of driving? I've given up telling women that they can't drive because they snap my head off, but there are an awful lot of women out there who can't park for toffee. Why?

Genetic limitations such as smaller brains or physical inadequacy? I think not. And even if I did, the living proof that I would be wrong is sitting next to me right now.


Navigators

Post 7

Zed

I have to leap into this one, in the cause of equality.

Women CAN'T park. The also drive too fast and too slowly in the wrong places, drive too close and don't pay attention. There is a trend here. Women are >exactly< as dreadful at driving as men. No more, no less. The majority of people on the road, of both sexes, simply shouldn't be there. Or if they are there, damn well need to pay attention to the operation in hand, piloting a high-speed weapon.

The amount of persons who believe their driving is above average is almost exactly equal to the number of drivers who ought to be taken out and shot at. smiley - winkeye

My driving's not so good, I also drive way too fast (a lot faster than everybody else) and too slow. But at least I take up no room on the road smiley - winkeye

H&K
Z


Navigators

Post 8

Weatherwax

Parking : my first car was a Mini ; you don't need to park it, you just point it where you want it to go. I learnt to park in a Cortina. Proposition : people (of whatever sex) who drive big cars are better parkers.

Question : Even if you don't get lost, why is the road home always shorter?


Navigators

Post 9

Weatherwax

P.S. I lived, and travelled by car, with my husband for a number of years before I found out he didn't know left from right.


Navigators

Post 10

Zed

Parking; I see lots and lots of people who can't park very small cars.
Propostion; As above, but with big cars.

Answer; Few people bother to find out exactly how big their vehicle is, and to practise putting places.

My mother only found out my father was colour blind >after< he wired a 13amp plug! smiley - winkeye

H&K
Z


Navigators

Post 11

Dragonesque

I have a friend who navigates by saying "THAT WAY" at the last minute and pointing down the required street which is rather frustrating as I prefer to keep my eyes on the road. This has, however, improved as now I get "the one with/without the watch". I know someone else who likes to say things like "turn right here, left" and "turn left here, right" (play on the meanings of the word right).


Navigators

Post 12

TimJ (ACE)

The worst thing is when navigating the driver (or other passenger) *thinks* you dont know where you are, grabs map, gives a few inane directions (not unconnected wiht personal insults in your direction) and then procedes to blame it on *YOU* when he/she gets you lost.

This is especially annoying when relatives who you dont see very often are in it car, and from then on are convinced you have no sense of direction.

Yup, it happend to me.

smiley - smiley


Navigators

Post 13

stragbasher

Yup,

When I'm told "turn right down there", I always ask "which right?" because of the tendency some people have to use "right" in the wrong context. Does anybody remember the closing sequeces of "Clockwise"?

I'm usually dawdling along, or going too fast, so I guess I shouldn't be allowed to drive myself. But I'm in the USA and a trip to the grocery store would take all day without a car. (On the other hand I can get to Tijuana, Mexico, and back in a few hours on the bus. Weird, huh?)

I can park though, and I'm proud of the fact. The majority of people can't park, and my comment above was inspired by recollections of a few occasions in Bath where I was confronted with women who wouldn't/couldn't reverse their cars under any circumstances. Imagine driving your car up a steep, narrow hill with parked cars on either side. The woman coming the other hill actually takes her keys out of the ignition and waves them at you rather than reverse one car length into the side street she could have pulled into before she got to it if she had been looking out of the windows and seen you coming.

To be fair, this is a rare phenomenen (however you spell it) and I have had to contend with a great deal of thoughtless and rude behaviour from men too - except when I was the one being thoughtless and rude first.

I think that navigation should be taught as part of driving so that people can arrive where they're going with minimal stress and concentrate on parking.

Finally I (like most men) am never lost, simply because I am at the centre of the universe and it's up to the rest of the world to orientate itself around me so it knows where it is.


Navigators

Post 14

Zed

You should be proud of the ability to park, it's a rare skill smiley - winkeye

I agree that naviagation and 'getting out and observing exactly how big your damn car is in relation to the rest of the world' should be taught at test level.

Hey, you're the centre of the universe too? Cool, so am I! Fancy meeting you here smiley - winkeye

It never matters where the rest of the world is, it only matters where I am!

H&K
Z


Navigators

Post 15

Cheerful Dragon

Actually, I said that I could read a map because I DID do geography. The school I went to didn't give us a choice in our 'O' level subjects. The school my sister went to gave the pupils a choice. I don't think she did geography and her navigation skills were appalling.

I can drive, but my parking isn't all it might be. These days any one who learns to drive in the UK has to learn to park, but it doesn't always come up in the driving test. Then there's the difference between 'driving' and 'parking'. Richard admits that, from a technical point of view, I'm a better driver than he is; my driving style is more 'to the book' than his. On the other hand he has more experience than me and is better able to cope with awkward situations. Parking is a different matter. I said that one possible reason why women are worse at navigating is that they aren't as good as reasoning spatially. This IS a reason why women typically are worse at parking than men. A man can look at a parking space and immediately know the combination of movements required to get the car into the space. A woman has to put the problem into words, and think about the problem and the actions 'verbally' as she is parking. The end result takes longer and usually isn't as good.

It's all down to the way the brain works. Men use one half of the brain for speech, the other half for spatial reasoning. This means they have an area of the brain dedicated to this kind of stuff. Women use both sides of the brain for speech and for spatial reasoning. Something has to loose out, and it's the spatial reasoning. Most women are better at language-related skills than most men.


Navigators

Post 16

Cheerful Dragon

P.S. I never said that women CAN'T do geography, but implied that their ability to navigate might be affected if they DIDN'T do geography, as my sister didn't. Hope I've sorted that out.


Navigators

Post 17

Zed

I have to admit to not being able to park cars at all, it's a completely alien concept to me, reversing. I even had trouble with the correct reversing of a sidecar-combination.

Of course, the correct way to park a cheap sidecar hack is - drive to where you want to be, dump clutch to stall engine, bung handy brick under wheel, walk off.

Your spatial awareness theory is good, Cheerful Dragon, I like it. But I'll have to stick to my idea that nobody bothers to practice. Otherwise what excuse for the hordes of men who can't park? smiley - winkeye

No, wait. We have the 'I'm parked just fine, the rest of the world is skew-whiff' excuse, so that's OK!

H&K
Z


Navigators

Post 18

stragbasher

Have to take issue with the spatial awareness/language thing here.

My girlfriend can't do left/right very reliably but she can take a lump of wood and turn it into a new whatsit for my boat without thinking about it. She's also exceedingly good at navigating, and we've solved the left/right thing by using "over there" - accompanied by a point (at the last minute)

I know this is the wrong place for this but here's a quote from CS Lewis:

Mother Dimble: "Men can't help in a job, you know. They can be induced to do it: not to help you while you're doing it. At
least, it makes them grumpy."

"The cardinal difficulty," said MacPhee, "in collaboration between the sexes is that women speak a language without nouns. If
two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other, 'Put this bowl inside the bigger bowl, which you'll find on the top
shelf of the green cupboard.' The female for this is, "Put that in the other one in there.' And if you ask them, 'in where?' they
say, 'in there of course' There is consequently a phatic hiatus."

Ivy Maggs....... "go upstairs and talk about nouns."

MacPhee, "Not about nouns, by means of nouns."


Navigators

Post 19

Dragonesque

I have a problem with parking. I used to drive a very small two door 4WD which was exceedingly easy to park due to it's size and height. Then I drove a slightly larger two door coupe and was the first to admit that I just couldn't park it so I completely ignored the concept of 'straightening up'. Now I drive a large family car and no matter what I do I cannot park it straight, or indeed in any spot that is even slightly tricky. I also do not usually reverse park into a spot as I mostly have to get a pram out of the boot, even though I find reversing in much easier. I have even been known to get almost all of the way into a spot in reverse before remembering about the pram, deciding that there is no way I would be able to get in front first and simply driving off in search of another spot. Quite frustrating.


Navigators

Post 20

Cheerful Dragon

What is the connection between 'spatial awareness' and turning a piece of wood? To me, spatial awareness means translating a problem into a solution without using words, or being able to envisage what a place looks like just by looking at a map. I reckon I can't park to save my life (not reverse parking, anyway), and I can't always translate what I see on a map to the street layout around me. However, I do know my right from my left, although it doesn't always come out right when I give directions.

Besides, the spatial awareness/language thing is true for MOST women, not ALL women. It may be that her brain is 'male wired'. Try this test. Get an independent person to write down 5 words. Get your girlfriend together with some of her female friends. Give each of them a sheet of paper with the 5 words on. Give them 3 minutes to write down as many synonyms or phrases with similar meaning. All of the 5 words must be covered in the 3 minutes. At the end, count up the number of synonyms / phrases that woman has come up with. If your girlfriend's score is lower than her friends, her brain could be 'male wired'. (You can try this on your male friends too. Chances are, their scores will be lower than the ladies'. Education / intelligence has nothing to do with it, by the way.)

For discussions on this and other aspects of male / female differences, try reading 'Why Men Don't Iron' by Anne and Bill Moir.


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