Monday, August 23, 2010

Where? Over There! Over Here? No, Over There! Over Where?

The title of this blog is something that has been said far too often in my life. For someone that has a great sense of direction I am unable to take direction when trying to locate an item.

Starting all the way when I was really little I had no concept of "it's over there" when trying to locate something. Where is "there"? There could be anywhere and since I see everything at once if there is anywhere I am hopeless at finding something.

When I worked at the kart shop the owner, Greg, one time had me go into the office to bring him his phone. I went from the garage area into the office and instantly saw the whole room. Seeing everything makes seeing small details, like a phone, difficult if not impossible. I stood in the doorway wondering what to do as I know people don't like to repeat themselves, but I was hopeless as to finding the phone. Daunted, I went back to Greg and asked him, "where?" The range was narrowed and I went back into the room with a little clue, and yet still I did not see the phone.

I did not have an exact location therefore I was still seeing the whole picture. This isn't to say that even when you give me precise direction I still may be spacially challenged. My dad says I always failed the "prepositional phrases" section of English in school and even yesterday I showed my lack of skill when my dad told me to take a monitor and put it on the other side of the fence in the alley. As I took the obsolete monitor to the back I put it near the fence, in our side of the yard. How was I to know that the garbage man wouldn't look there? I heard fence and other side and was confused. It did look kinda odd having a gigantic computer monitor sitting in the grass.

Going back to the phone I went back to Greg for a third go round of help and he finally said that he thought it was, "near the computer". This made sense and I went in and looked near the computer. I had scanned near the computer, but now I went by the computer with a fine tooth comb and there it was, a black phone sitting on a white keyboard. It stuck out like, well, black on white and could not have been more obvious, but I was seeing the entire room.

Seeing the whole picture makes the black on white not as obvious. Even when I focus in on something I still see the whole room out of my peripheral vision.

I also have issues with direction because I am learning my perspective is different in my mind than what I am actually seeing. I always have trouble with East/West because I believe I see it in my mind differently spacially. I wish I could describe this better, but I am just learning this about myself. I know this is something about perception and that there is something because I never get North/South mixed up, but up/down is much easier to see than left/right because up/down is easily understandable.

One thing I want you to know is that my lack of ability to locate things is not by choice. I wish I could take spacial direction and execute the find with ease, but that's not the case. It may be the simplest of directions and still I won't see it. Do you think I want to come back to a person and say I can't find something? I hate asking questions of people, even more so when they have already given me directions, so I wish I could simply locate any given item when asked to go for it.

Being asked to do a spacial challenge is an event of high anxiety. There, here, beside, over, and words of those lead to one confused mind as I only see one thing and that is everything. I can look back and laugh at all the times I have gone around a room and scanned over what I was looking for and not seen it even though it was as out in the open, but as much as I can laugh about it I fear the next time it will happen as it will happen and I know I should be able to simply do it, but I can't and it isn't a choice.


  1. Ah, so recogniseable again... It might help to tell you how I solve this problem.
    It's already good you recognise this. Then when someone asks you to find something and tell you 'over there' and point in some general area, just simply tell them 'I can't find things in general areas, I know this about myself, please give as most a specific direction as you can'. It's not nice for you to have to ask this, but it can prevent a lot of unneccassary (I so spelled that wrong didn't I?) long searching and returning for more directions.

    Also about the wind-directions... I have the same problem, but have known this since primary school, because my teacher just assumed we all knew a bit about directions and times it'd take us and you name it. The thing where I'm absolutely clueless. (yay for ! It's dutch so sorry, but I love it!)
    Then there was a time we got tests on maps and we were also asked to know wind-directions...
    I REALLY spent a whole history lesson (who cares, he was just reciting the book, I'd look over it later) looking at a map in the class (which would be put away during the test) and reciting the directions in order clock-wise.
    North, East, South, West... North, East, South, West... North, East, South, West... North, East, South, West...
    Well you get it. Now when someone asks me to go East for example you'll always see me go in my mind quickly 'north, east... ah yes!'

    PS: You'll see me do the same thing if you ever tell me the number of a month. I'll pass all the months in my head and count along until I'm at the number you told me. >.<

    I hope this helped you.

  2. Luckily for me they called one of our states WESTERN Australia. And I'm 56 years old. So I won't laugh at my 17 year old who confuses left and right..