Okay, a confession: I have a notoriously bad sense of direction.
Case in point: a few years ago, Adam and I were going to visit my friend Deadspot. Deadspot gave excellent, detailed instructions to his house, which, I might add is next town over from a town I actually lived in for a summer. Yet, I missed the clearly-marked exit from the interstate (an interstate I have driven to and from my college town easily 30-35 times in my life) to the road to his house not once, but twice.
I finally got off of the right exit when my son spotted it.
The problem was that I should have had my son, The Evil Dictator navigating. Instead, I was allowing him to play a video game on his Gameboy, or read, or some other nonesense, allowing him to shirk his duties as my navigator.
Even at a young age, his sense of direction was uncanny. When he was about 2 and a half or 3 years old, we were out driving one day, doing errands and I decided to take another route to our destination, which he knew. Adam asked "Dad, why didn't you turn there?"
I came to realize that he knew various routes to places, and could tell me whether we were headed toward or away from places. At times, he knew better, more direct routes to places.
Later, it became somewhat of a problem. After his mother and I split and settled our custody issues, he went through a period in which he did not want to return to his mother's house after time at my home. I tried a subterfuge-- okay, a lie-- I told him that we were not going to his mother's home, but to one of his favorite destinations, my best friend Jim's house. As we weaved through what I thought was a sneaky and stealthy route, he became suspicious and busted me: "Hey, we're not going to Uncle Jim's house-- we're going to my mom's house!"
The final humiliating blow and proof of his navigation superiority was a couple of years ago when we were driving to my parents' home in Eastern Tennessee. I missed an exit (of course) and we had to navigate the final fifty miles or so through winding country roads in the Smoky Mountains to get there. I realized that I was becoming hopelessly confused and lost. He asked for the map, and telling me where to turn, quickly and easily navigated our way to my parents' house.
Next week, we are going to see them again. They've since moved to a new home. It's actually easier to get to, but I still had major anxiety about getting there.
I'd decided a year or so ago that due to my directional issues, I would buy a GPS system eventually, but would wait until I could get one for under $200. With our trip approaching, and my plans to possibly have a side trip or two to go to the Louisville Slugger factory (Louisville is on our route) and, if possible, meet up with Dr. Monkerstein, I may have to actually get off of the interstates. I did some research on different systems at different costs, and today I dropped by Radio Shack and purchased a Magellan Maestro 3100, a low-end, but very capable GPS system that gets good reviews, for $149.99 plus tax.
It's simple to operate, which is good; otherwise, I might have to have my son help me operate it. Or just shut the thing off and have him navigate.