Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Was Born to Get Lost BY Mike Buzzelli

I was on my cellphone with my friend Ryan when he told me I was "geographically challenged." I would have argued with him, but I was busy getting lost. I had to shut him up so I could hear the GPS.
"Geographically challenged" is politically correct for directionally retarded.
I can admit it now. I was born without a sense of direction. Even armed with a cellphone and GPS, I still get lost.
It was worse in the early-to-mid '90s, before I had these miraculous devices. Think back to those prehistoric days, when a person could be lost for hours! Once, I pulled into a gas station and called a friend from a phone booth. Do they even have those anymore?

On the phone, I said, "I am really lost and I don't know how to get to your place from here."
He replied, "Are you wearing a blue-and-green flannel shirt (told you it was the nineties)?"
I said, "Yeah. How did you know?"
He replied, "You're calling from the gas station below my apartment. I can see you."
I felt like I was playing some adult form of peek-a-boo.
Another time, my friends and I were going to an event in Youngstown. From Pittsburgh. You think that would be an easy trip. When we got to Cleveland, we decided we'd just do something up there. My friend Tom always blames me for that trip, but we had an excellent time. Besides, it was his idea to let me drive. So, who's the real fool in this story?
There was a time in Los Angeles when I was supposed to go to a party on Wilshire Boulevard. Somehow, I added extra zeroes to the end of the address. I ended up at a Dumpster in the Garment District. Luckily, the cellphone had been invented by then, and it was a simple fix to turn around and go the other way, once equipped with the correct address. Even though it was just a few miles on the same boulevard, the big blue bin was a far cry from the swanky Beverly Hills nightclub (by 100 blocks). Technically, the party was located in mid-Wilshire, which is Beverly Hills adjacent. The Dumpster was in the Garment District, which was homeless shelter adjacent.
Left and right is a 50-50 chance, yet somehow I make the wrong choice 100 percent of the time. The odds are astronomical. "Lost" isn't just a television show, it's a way of life.
I take the phrase, "You can't miss it," and turn it into a personal challenge. I'm always missing those "can't miss" places. Sometimes, I turn around right before I get there, thinking, "It can't possibly be this way." It always is.
Even my nana used to call me "Wrong Way" Corrigan, an infamous pilot who was supposed to fly from New York to California, but ended up in Ireland. You think all that ocean would have clued him in. It probably wouldn't have stopped me either. Though, many people believe pilot Douglas Corrigan flew to Ireland on purpose. I would have just gone the wrong way, with no intention or plan, just a faulty sense of direction.
I should get a "Geographically Challenged" placard for my car. I might end up at the wrong place, but I'd get a decent parking space.






Mike Buzzelli has performed his standup routine at places on the Left Coast like The Comedy Store and The Ice House, before relocating to Western Pennsylvania. And he has plenty of writing experience, to boot.

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