Each time that I relocate I need to reorientate, which usually means getting lost. It doesn't matter if I'm on foot, in a car, on a bike or taking public transportation. Maps sometimes but not always make a difference. I figure out how to get from A to B by necessity, sometimes in great panic and often with much frustration. Kansas City, I find is no different.
My first week in my new neighborhood I wanted to go for a run. I had someone draw me a map with a few different routes. I studied it. It seemed simple enough. Moments later I went out and got lost. This happened for weeks. In fact, it still happens. The same is true of driving. I pull up google maps, study where I am and where I'm going, write down the directions that magically appear in the left-hand margin of my screen and proceed to attempt to follow them. And then I get lost.
I got lost going to Shakespeare on the Green and ended up pulling into a driveway where a bunch of college kids appeared to be hanging out on a Sunday night. I got lost getting back to KC from Edgerton (where we had middle school camp) and after 30 minutes of trying to navigate the rolling hills of Kansas decided to pull into a farm and ask for directions. "Where are you trying to go?" the friendly woman in the oversized red sundress asked me. "I was trying to get onto 435" I replied. "Well you're quite a ways away from there. Do you still want to get to 435?" she asked. "I just want to go home," was my rather pathetic response.
I'm continually frustrated by the signs (or lack there of) on Kansas City high ways and interstates (and the fact that they refer to the highway as "69 highway" and not "highway 69"). I never know if the sign is going to be just before, just at, or just behind the correct exit, and thus usually end up anywhere but where I want to be. I also must waste an awful lot of fuel and time. I'm not sure, because I don't yet know how long it's supposed to take me to get anywhere. I'm frustrated, but I'm learning. I've done this before. Eventually I'll know where I'm going. I'll even know the short cuts.
I'm starting to think that my adult life it just going to follow this pattern. Finding a car, applying for jobs, locating an apartment - all of these things that I don't know how to do because I've never done them before - I'll figure it out eventually. I just wish there were an easier way. That someone could mail me detailed instructions on how and where to find a reliable and reasonably priced vehicle the way my dad mailed me a map of Kansas City this week. I'd ask for directions on how to get from where I am to a place where I'm employed and doing something I'm actually qualified to do, but I don't think that such things exist. I'm pretty sure there has to be an easier way than hopelessly scanning craigslist - some sort of short cut to getting life figured out, but until I figure out what it is I'll probably just keep wandering, meandering and hoping that eventually I'll find my way.