Celestial Navigation

Part of our Grade 10 Phys Ed curriculum was a segment on orienteering. We studied maps and learned to use compasses. Then we were set loose for the practical portion of the class – navigating through the woods following directions based on the skills we had learned. We scoffed at the parental permission slips with all the arrogance of 15 year olds. What did they think was going to happen – we’d get lost in the woods?!?

We got lost in the woods.

We all knew if we headed east, we’d end up on the main road. (All settlement on Grand Manan is on the eastern side of the island.) It took some of us a while to realize we’d overshot the destination. In the meantime, word spread of our misfortunate. Older classes skipped school for the afternoon to form search parties. We all straggled out eventually, some via swamps, or streams, or other unfortunate event. (Fortunately wildlife is limited to deer, rabbits, and raccoons.) 27 years later, it still makes me smile thinking about it.

Flash forward to today. I’m at a meeting in a city where I’m familiar with the shopping district, but really not much else. I look at the map, think “I can do this” and head off. For some reason, Mapquest directions never occurred to me. Perhaps I was channeling “Celestial Navigation“, one of my favourite episodes of the West Wing. Perhaps it was my snarky 15 year old sneaking through. For whatever the reason, I headed out without directions.

I had a lovely 45 minute tour of the University of Maine campus. It’s really quite beautiful. I know; I toured most of it. Could not find the building I was looking for. My speed increased as the meeting start time approached. I wished my car’s air conditioning had been repaired, because I was a ball of sweat. Finally, I saw a sign:
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Not the sign I was looking for. But maybe it was a sign of another kind. Maybe channeling the spirit of these distant relatives, I could find my way. (Or maybe they were lost like me and this is where they just gave up and collapsed.). Going with option 1, I stop in the shadow of the sign, take a deep breath, and turn on data roaming. I find a map. I can’t find me on the map. I drive on, looking for some sort of landmark.

Finally it happens: I see something in real life and on the map. I pull a Joey, turn my phone so the map is facing the right direction, and step into the map. Only three turnarounds later, I park, spring out the door, and careen around the building. I slow down to attempt to project some semblance of professionalism. 2 whole minutes to spare.

And that little moment of data roaming:

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2 thoughts on “Celestial Navigation

    1. Sadly, it’s my carrier Bell that’s responsible. At least they send a text now so your somewhat prepared when the bill comes. Much better than the unexpected surprise otherwise.

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