Hey you, you, right there. You know who you are. Ever gotten turned around in a place where it would seem impossible to get lost in? Say, going to the back of a supermarket because you thought it was the front, or not understanding the GPS because the you aren’t sure if the line is exactly the same on the screen as it is in the road? If that sounds like you, or you get turned around easily, I have a story and some words of wisdom as a fellow member of the directionally challenged.
Recently, I had a doctor’s appointment in a part of Boston I had never been to. Not to worry, I thought. I will leave the apartment early so that I have plenty of time if I make a wrong turn-or three. For once though, I made it there without any mishaps. All thanks to my trusty-or what I thought was a trusty-IPhone. And then I tried to get home. It was supposed to be so easy. I was across the street from the T-stop. I just needed to take the green line B back to Emerson. But that was not in my fate. I walked out of the doctor’s appointment and automatically queued up my trusty Apple Maps, even though I knew exactly what I was supposed to do. Instead of taking me across the street where I had gotten off, it set me off on a path running the opposite way from the T. Huh, I thought. Maybe it’s taking me to the other side of the street to take the T back. I looked at my phone. I had 10% left, the yellow charge bar threateningly low. I looked at my trusty maps. It was set on walking directions and the arrival time was 10:45. Great! It’s 10:15 now. It was nice out so I decided to walk.
I was walking on my merry way for a good twenty minutes, listening to music and texting friends.
I turned onto a busy highway and stopped, looked at my phone, and was shocked to see that though the arrival time was still 10:45, the estimated time of the walk was now at an hour and twenty minutes. I looked at my battery. With music and texting, it had quickly dropped to a mere 3%. Shit. I tried to call a Lyft. It was only a minute too late. My phone died and whatever car was supposed to pick me up didn’t see the girl on the side of the highway, trying desperately to not look lost or confused. So I kept walking. I could just try to figure it out. Let’s look for landmarks. Across a sea of cars was a creepy looking liquor store and an express Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin it is. I walked to the nearest crosswalk, ignoring several beeps from men-f*ck of dude-in mud spattered trucks and stood up straight, waiting for the walk light to turn. If for some reason the nice lady working the counter at that store is reading this, thank you. She gave me her phone charger and I got enough juice to call and get into a Lyft.
And that friends, is the end of my harrowing journey that landed me in the sketchiest part of Allston, Massachusetts. I later found out that if I had continued walking, I would have ended up across the river near Harvard University, about a 30 minute T ride and a river crossing away from Emerson.
Want to make sure you never get as lost as I did? Here’s a list of 5 landmarks you can see or find to help you get to a familiar area.
1. The green line on the T runs East to West. If you know where the green line is, you can figure out what direction you are going. Lechmere is going to the far East and crosses the river into Cambridge, 12 minutes away from the Boston Common. Riverside is going Far West takes you all the way out to Newton, Mass which is about 30 minutes away from the Boston Common.
2. The Prudential Building is in Back Bay, near the Harvard Bridge that connects Boston and Cambridge. If you are near the Prudential, head West for the Boston Common, North for Cambridge, South for South End, and East for Fenway.
3. The Boston Common is right near Downtown Crossing, a hub of stores, restaurants, and stores that sell phone chargers. If you are in the Common, walk a little North and a bit more East until you find the corner of Winter street and Tremont, then head Southeast on Winter street until you get to food, water, and a charging station.
4. The Longfellow Bridge runs West from Cambridge, East to Boston.
5. The Charles River runs between Cambridge and Boston. It’s simple: If you are facing North and the water is on your right, you are in Cambridge. If it’s on your left, you guessed it, you are in Boston.
Good luck my directionally challenged friends!