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I am address challenged.

There, I said it. I am directionally impaired, lacking an internal compass, dropped on my head as a baby, get lost in a paper bag, lacking a sense of direction, get lost easily, never know where I am, always have to stop and ask for directions, not good at maps.


So you can only imagine what a challenge it’s been these last several days, between Seattle, Portland, the farm, San Francisco, and now Chicago. Luckily I speak the language and don’t really mind walking long distances, so even the irreperably lost often gets found. In addition to my inability to orient myself, I am also blessed with the ability to confuse words with similar words. There is a famous family story involving Timothy’s Coffee World, which I referred to a Joe’s World of Coffee, and which my sister (who yay! I will see in about three days!) knew exactly what I was talking about. And how the end result turns into the final product. Add the word reinvention to the always lost, and I nearly always have a story to tell. (or hadn’t you noticed?)

My most recent snafu was hearing “Meet me at the Birite creamery on 19th and Dolores in the Mission” (in SF) as “Meet me at 19th and Mission.” Dutiful and careful walker that I am, I first walked through the Tenderloin, and later most of the length of the Mission, chatting with many and sundry, including a man who was hanging out of his car shouting “excuse me, excuse me” and when I turned around to see why he was shouting at me, he explained that he “just wanted to take me out.” This, on the basis of my sparkling personality, sharp wit, and superior social skills, and had nothing to do with being female, white and alone. A gent beside me muttered under his breath “no stopping, no stopping,” and we had a lovely conversation in Spanish about the date-asker. Sadly I still had blocks to go before I would determine that I was absolutely on the wrong street, but not before a Turkish (I think) woman with a space between her teeth who smelled alot like peaches directed me to Mission Pie, a pie cafe on 25th and Mission where I had a glass of iced rooibos tea and did not find wifi because San Francisco is a bit of a deadzone, wifi-wise.

The people in the pie cafe (where the pies looked great, but sadly, I was not hungry) pointed me towards Dolores street, and I circled the block once and got confused, this time because my map did not list several streets. I found a grandmother type and asked her where Dolores street was, and she took one look at me and said “Tres cuadras mas alla” (three blocks further that way), and thank goodness I speak Spanish because with all the hey babying and getting lost, I might have just sat down and wept if I hadn’t gotten where I was going.

And I did, and saw the illustrious Annie, with her adorable son J, who is both sweet as the pies at mission pie, and horribly photogenic, though it doesn’t hurt that mama is a professional photographer. and I had organic brown sugar and maple icecream in a biodegradable cup and we blew bubbles and watched baby J squee at them until some crazy freakshow stoners came up with their bleary eyes and their cat on a leash to play with the baby.

And that was just day 1.

Now I’m in Chicago, in the disgustingly cute neighborhood of Lincoln Square where they are plying me with heaps of caffeine and wifi, blessed wifi.

Look for me at blogher on Saturday (but not Friday), and TBEX on Sunday. I’ll be the one wandering in circles. Very fast, from all the caffeine.