Why am I so bad with directions? It's so bad I am inclined to think it's pathological. Also how do I become better with directions? And please don't say "Pay Close Attention" as I already do that and I still get lost
June 12, 2012 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Why am I so bad with directions? It's so bad I am inclined to think it's pathological. Also how do I become better with directions? And please don't say "Pay Close Attention" as I already do that and I still get lost.

K, I'm terrible terrible terrible with directions. I get lost everywhere. In fact, I am writing this precisely after having gotten lost in a school that I have been going to for the past several weeks. And this isn't new. I will go into a building, finish my errands there, and be incapable of knowing where to turn to get back to my car. I've tried to visualize where but I guess my spatial reasoning is atrocious because I'm consistently wrong. In fact, if there is one predictable thing about my lack of direction is that my sense of where to go is often the very opposite of where I should really be going. So for example, if walking out of a building, I am certain I should go left, I know that I should do the opposite and go right.

And this is, as you can imagine, highly annoying and frustrating. I'm so bad at it that some people think I must be faking when I tell them I forget how to get to their house after going there for years. What makes the matter even more frustrating is that I have a great memory for facts, dates, names, and even numbers. I'm the kind of guy who can read something and remember it forever. So why doesn't this translate into a normal sense of direction. I'm not asking for a superior one, but for one that allows me to get from point A to B without getting lost.

So here are my questions for the Hive Mind:
1. How do I get better at not getting lost. Please don't say "Pay More Attention" as that hasn't done the job in over thirty years. One trick I tried once that sorta kinda maybe worked was to imagine a string behind that unraveled as I turned left and right, went forward or back. This gave me a small sense of direction and helped me to not get lost as often. However, doing this isn't always possible as some routes very circuitous and the concentration needed is just too intense.
2. Is this some sort of a pathological problem? Are there cases of people with really good memories like mine who are terrible terrible with spatial reasoning. And by terrible, I mean borderline developmentally disabled as it seems to be in my case.
3. I have one eye. Have had it since I was 10. Could this explain my directional problems?

Any advice, help, or comments would be greatly appreciated!
posted by RapcityinBlue to Health & Fitness (70 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Are there cases of people with really good memories like mine who are terrible terrible with spatial reasoning.

It's a club that has at least two members! I am horrible with spatial reasoning. I rarely get lost because I work out a series of explicit verbal directions for every journey ("turn right at Clinton Street" or "it's the shop three doors down from the corner of Tremont Street and Charles Street") and memorize them. I don't know if that would be useful to you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:19 PM on June 12, 2012

For driving at least, you can get a GPS. People always try to tell me, like, "Oh, it's easy to get to my house, just go by the 7-11 near the train station and then turn left at the grocery store." I give them a glare of death and ask for the street address. I don't care what you "just go by," a little computer is going to do the navigating for me. I take it everywhere and use it even for places I've been a few times before. I haven't messed with that landmark shit in years.

For inside and walking, it won't help, but I think there are exercises you can do to improve spatial reasoning?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:28 PM on June 12, 2012

Your question made me think of a Radiolab segment I heard a while ago: "You Are Here" (from the episode Lost & Found). In the segment, a woman describes her lifelong difficulties with navigation (to the point of getting lost in her own house, her own backyard, her own neighbourhood) and how she connected with a scientist who is researching people who have similar problems (Developmental Topological Disorder).

I'm not saying that's what you have, but you might find it comforting to hear that other people have similar experiences and that there might be a neurological explanation.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:28 PM on June 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

A lack of stereoscopic vision can cause a poor sense of direction, as explained in Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey Into Seeing in Three Dimensions.
posted by Wordwoman at 2:30 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

How do I get better at not getting lost.

Spend some time practicing driving. Challenge yourself to get to a certain intersection or nearby city. It's great fun and you learn how to think about the problem more automatically. Also, put a compass in your car.

Is this some sort of a pathological problem? No, many people do this.
posted by michaelh at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2012

Maybe pick out landmarks and build up a set of directions based on them? It's easier to remember "right after the gym, up the stairs, then go in the door just past the bathrooms" than a set of arbitrary right-then-left-then-the-sixth-room-on-your-right directions. Plus it's easier to realize you've taken a wrong turn when the expected landmark doesn't show up.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:32 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't try to keep track of the entire path; that's too much to memorize. Instead try to keep track of just one thing: the as-the-crow-flies direction to wherever you started ("home" or "the front door" or whatever.) Whatever twists and turns you take, keep that one direction in your head.

Now when you are ready to backtrack, you may not know the exact path to get where you came from, but you will know what general direction it is. Head in that general direction and you'll more than likely find your way even if it isn't by the same path. This will fail if the location is very maze-like, but most locations aren't.

(If you're outdoors you can use the sun as a marker to help you remember which direction is which, unless you'll be returning at a very different time of day...)
posted by ook at 2:36 PM on June 12, 2012

I'm also terrible with spatial reasoning and suck at remembering directions. I don't really have any advice for you if you want to get better at remembering directions, because I've basically given up trying to remember and just rely on technology to guide me. I look up directions everywhere I go, even going home, just in case I forget how to get there from where I am. I write down turns when I'm walking around in a maze-like building, or I just suck it up and stop someone to ask for guidance.

By the way, I really don't think this is any indication that you (or I or anyone else with this problem) are developmentally disabled. Your brain can't be perfect at everything, you know?
posted by joan_holloway at 2:38 PM on June 12, 2012

My sister is quite intellectually brilliant, highly accomplished in her field, and seems to have a perfectly good memory. She also has such a poor sense of direction that she routinely has to hold up her hands with the thumbs sticking out at right angles to see which one forms an L-shape between the forefinger and thumb in order to remember which is her left. Her theory is that it's some sort of spatial dyslexia.
posted by scody at 2:41 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I was joking about being developmentally disabled. I understand that obviously I am not "retarded" in any real sense. However, I still would like to figure out what exactly is wrong with me. Is this simple the result of having one eye? Are there any things I can do to teach myself how to remember directions so that I can go places without getting lost and having people think there is something wrong with me.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 2:44 PM on June 12, 2012

She also has such a poor sense of direction that she routinely has to hold up her hands with the thumbs sticking out at right angles to see which one forms an L-shape between the forefinger and thumb in order to remember which is her left.

This doesn't work for me because I forget which way you have to hold your hand (obviously you can make an l-shape with your right hand if you hold it palm out).

I am a magna cum laude graduate of a very selective university.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:45 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I doubt it's because you lost an eye, RapcityinBlue, just because I know so many binocular people who have the same problem.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:46 PM on June 12, 2012

(obviously you can make an l-shape with your right hand if you hold it palm out).

Palm IN, I mean. See how bad I am at this stuff?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:46 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Anyway, my answer is to write stuff down, use Google Maps, use a GPS device; whatever external support you can get that works for you. I have been totally unsuccessful in improving my unassisted abilities in this area, but I have become adept in supplementing my poor direction/spatial skills with technology.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:48 PM on June 12, 2012

Can you read a map? Use map apps for your phone or gps for your car...when people give you directions write them down and draw yourself a map - need not be fancy but with enough detail so you know to turn left or right at a specific interaction, i.e. names of relevant roads and landmarks. This would even work for and walkable spaces near your home for example, or the local mall, including the car park(s). You do write down in what car park your car is if there's more than one, right? I am asking this as somebody who had to walk round 4 different zones of a massive airport car park for 35 minutes once at 2am trying to find my car carrying a heavy bag...
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:48 PM on June 12, 2012

Are you hoping to improve your sense of direction, or are you hoping to solve your practical problem of getting lost? If it's the latter, get a smartphone. The maps app on my iPhone is great, it shows me right where I am and has a little rotating arrow that shows which direction I'm facing. Won't solve your problem inside buildings, of course.
posted by ootandaboot at 2:49 PM on June 12, 2012

Response by poster: I cannot read a map to save my life. The problem is that I don't know where North or South is. Plus I don't know how to reason spatially and decide where I am standing to use the map properly.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 2:50 PM on June 12, 2012

This doesn't work for me because I forget which way you have to hold your hand

What about associating it with your thumbs pointing at (or even touching) each other? If you bring your thumbs together, the space between your hands forms a U-shape, which maybe you can remember by a mnemonic device such as "which way are U going?" Don't know if that works at all for you, but just a suggestion. /derail

posted by scody at 2:51 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to be terrible at directions and I got better. Oddly enough, learning which way North was (no, I didn't know) and checking to figure out which way it is wherever I am, helps a lot. The other thing is, riding the bus with a map. (I 'spose it can work with someone else driving, but the nice thing about a bus is that the bus goes on a set route, and you can watch for specific streets and keep figuring out where you are as you're moving.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 2:53 PM on June 12, 2012

I cannot read a map to save my life.

Technology it is for you, and writing down the location where your car is parked so you can at least ask for directions :)
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:53 PM on June 12, 2012

I think I have a pretty good sense of direction but I still need help:

1) Carry maps in your car. I thought this was just Something Adults Do, but I guess not; I have a map of my city and surrounds, a map of my state, and a national atlas in the car. Just in case I take a wrong turn and end up in Delaware, I guess. When in a strange part of town, or trying to figure out how to get where your going Use The Maps. I keep maps of the campus where I teach in my glovebox too -- two of them, one to leave in the car forever and one to take with me when I walk on campus in case I need to go somewhere strange.

2) GPS. Although I would say, take 2 minutes to look at the maps first and THEN let GPS direct you; following GPS directions doesn't help you build a picture in your head, it just gets you where you're going. Maps help you build a picture better.

3) Car locator app. You push the button when you park and it helps you get back there later.

4) Always park in the same place. For someone who's pretty good with maps and directions, I have lost my car an APPALLING number of times. When I go to particular stores or whatever, I always park in the same part of the parking lot, even when there are plenty of closer spots available, so that I can find my damn car. Like "along this fence" or "near the only tree in the parking lot" or "under the letter F for where the fuck is my car?" but always the same general area.

5) (Upon seeing your update) Use your smartphone as a compass and/or learn to use an actual compass. Mapreading is a skill that can be learned. You may not ever be The Map King, but you can certainly learn to sort yourself out and manage basic navigation. You can try some orienteering, if you want, which is a mapreading sport. There's a reason that "map skills" is on grade school curricula; it's not a natural thing, it's something you have to learn and practice.

6) Learn to say, "I am SO turned around, which way is the parking lot?" I ask people stuff like that all the time. Make a point of noting which door you came in so you know which door to go out.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:55 PM on June 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

You really should read this article on developmental topographical disorientation and how GPS may be making our ability to navigate atrophy.
posted by mcwetboy at 3:04 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Have you ever tried making maps? I would think that would be something that would help one develop the skill.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:08 PM on June 12, 2012

Response by poster: HOw does one know where North is? Or West or East? Plus how does one visualize onself on a map. I swear this stuff doesn't make sense to me.

Anyway, the electronic device suggestions aren't that useful. I already have a GPS and would like to actually figure out a way to navigate without relying on technology. It's sort of like a person asking people how to better remember things and being told that he/she should write it down. Yeah that works but it defeats the purpose of having a memory or--in my case--lack of directional sense.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 3:09 PM on June 12, 2012

I describe as spatial dyslexia. My head can hold onto and look up in about 45 seconds the exact section, side of the page and place on a page something I read five years ago and most weeks I’ll get lost or forget where I parked at least once. I’ve come to accept it as a mild impairment.

I can’t explain it. I have excellent vision.

I ask for explicit directions for everything. I don't let folks explain them in terms of East/West/North/South or up and down - these I don't understand. Besides, up and down only make sense on one way streets or if you’re already going in the right direction. Always a bad assumption when I’m driving. I do understand left/right, straight ahead and landmarks. I also understand that I need to hold on to written directions until I've driven someplace at least 5 times. I always assume that things will not go well for me if I try to intuit my way out of being lost or finding something.

I double or triple the amount of time anyone/anything tells me I’ll need to get to somewhere new to me. I don’t bother with maps. They confuse me and make things worse. I also don’t listen to talk radio or podcasts when I am going somewhere new. This also confuses me.

It pisses me off when I tell folks I don’t understand how to get somewhere and they say it’s easy or try to teach me how to follow cardinal directions (because it’s easier for them to explain it this way) or to make a picture/map in my head and then tell me it’s easy. Well. Fuck off. It’s not easy. If I could follow a map, make mental pictures or maps or understand North I would have done it by now. Thank you very much. Getting cranky makes me feel better.

So there’s my strategy. Ask people to assume I’m a five year old when explaining directions, get cranky, stick to what I know and avoid the rest, take oodles of time, no distractions and make other people do it.
posted by space_cookie at 3:12 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

HOw does one know where North is? Or West or East?

The sun, mainly. Or sign-reading ("Okay, this is Route 66 East, so I'm probably going vaguely eastish. If I turn right, I'll be going more or less south." And so on.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:14 PM on June 12, 2012

I live and die by landmarks.

1) Look for and remember any landmarks that catch your eye, and review the list of landmarks mentally as you go on your way.

2) As ID landmarks on your way in, stop occassionally and turn around, so you get the same POV on the landmark that you'll have on the way out.

3) Find the big landmarks in your city. I'm pretty much hopeless unless there's a river in town, and instead of north/south and east/west, I tend to think riverward and anti-riverward, upstream and downstream.

4) The sun rises in the east, passes through the southern sky (if you're in the northern hemisphere!) and sets in the west. Pay attention to where it is. (Do not attempt to navigate based on the locations of planets because you will get them confused with airplanes and get very very lost. ASK ME HOW I KNOW.)
posted by BrashTech at 3:14 PM on June 12, 2012

FWIW: I found that living in New Orleans had a distinct advantage with this because Lake Ponchartrain was always north, the river curled around the south. It was easy to see in my mind my location to those two large bodies of water.

Now, when in other cities, I can get confused if I don't have that reference. I was in Cleveland recently and did a lot of back-and-forth along Lake Erie. I routinely felt turned around even though the lake was to the north. We kept crawling along the southern edge then backing up then going forward. I found it disorienting and relied a lot on my GPS.

Another thing I've found helpful is, when using highway signs, to take them very literally. If you see a sign pointing forward to connect with and get on an interstate, go forward either until you run into an interstate or you see an additional sign telling you to proceed differently.
posted by tcv at 3:22 PM on June 12, 2012

Response by poster: How would I go about concentrating and keeping track of my surroundings aside from noticing landmarks. Are there any visual exercises I can do? Any exercises that might better attune to me to my space in relation to other objects and locations.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 3:23 PM on June 12, 2012

I don't think you really need to know where North or South is to read a map, unless you're orienteering or something. You just need to know the relative directions of things.

Like, if I'm navigating using a street map I don't need to know whether I'm heading North or South, and I usually don't care. Let's say I'm on Main Street, and I know I need to turn on to Elm Street. Right now I'm at the corner of Main Street and Alden Street. If I look at the map, I can see that in between Alden Street and Elm Street there are three streets, Birch, Cabot, and Hickory. So I need to head in the direction of Birch Street and if I don't pass Birch Street then I know I'm heading the wrong way.

Also: reading maps is really hard. Even when you know how to read maps you usually need to stare at a map for over a minute to get your bearings, and if you're already freaking out and lost that is an incredibly long time.
posted by mskyle at 3:25 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm trying to teach my kids these skills in the hopes that constant practice will make them good at directions when they get older. When we park at the zoo, for example, I say okay, we're parked straight across from the third street light. And there's a handicapped ramp for our stroller at the curb (the only one for fifty feet or so). You guys need to help me remember how to get back to the car when we're done...
posted by tacodave at 3:27 PM on June 12, 2012

Is this simple the result of having one eye?

No. I find my way just fine with one eye, this isn't it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:30 PM on June 12, 2012

Last comment but you're over thinking how to use a map in built up areas.

You don't need to know where north is to do this successfully. A couple of weeks ago I was walking round Rome, a place I'd never been to, a couple of weeks ago, with nothing but my little tourist map the hotel gave me, I didn't get lost, I always found the landmarks I was looking for and I always found my way back to my hotel. But not once did I consider where north was.

What I did was go to the nearest cross road and find that intersection on the map. Then I'd find my destination on the map. Now at this point the actual road layout and the map are not aligned. So you turn the map so the cross roads become aligned with the map. You now look again at where your destination has moved as you rotated the map and you head n that direction.

Repeat as necessary, i.e check every few minutes - this should be much less of an issue in the us because your road layout is not driven by where somebody built a circus 2000 years ago or similar arbitrary matters.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:30 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I live in New Orleans and really had no sense of where anything was until Hurricane Katrina. (I've lived there all my life, mind you.) Spending lots of time looking at satellite maps to see where all the flooding was finally gave me an overview of how the city was laid out. Spend a lot of time on google maps following streets and routes until you understand how all the neighborhoods in your city fit together and see if that helps. Now, I still got lost a few weeks ago going out to the University that I attended for a couple of years, but I had enough of a picture in my head that I eventually found my way with the help of my iPhone. I still can't find my way around department stores, though.
posted by artychoke at 3:33 PM on June 12, 2012

I can't find it at the moment, but a number of years ago I saw a TV show, one of those science type shows like Nova, wherein they discussed this very issue. Apparently this is not exactly rare, and it appears that women are overrepresented (though, ugh, stupid stereotype), all due to some chromosomal characteristic - nothing to do with any intellectual disabilities. Others I providing various solutions, I just wanted to chime in and say: it's not because you are not trying hard enough, it's just a condition you have to be aware of. Of course, I'm sure there are many other causes of this condition as well.
posted by VikingSword at 3:34 PM on June 12, 2012

One thing that helps me from getting lost is to occasionally look back where I came from, so I'll know what it looks like when I need to go back there.

(Like in a parking lot: if you are standing next to your car and you look up at the light pole with the "E-4" section number on it, that isn't going to help much, because you are only going to remember what it looks like from there, not what it looks like from the exit of the store. So before you go in the store, look back to where your car is and take a mental snapshot.)

I can't help you with the lack of innate directional-ness, because that's something that I have. VERY rarely, I'll get turned around in a foreign area and it absolutely mind-fucks me when I realize I am 90 degrees off in my internal compass.

But one thing that I loved doing as a kid was following the map when someone else was driving. Maybe you can get some old-fashioned foldable maps and practice this?

She also has such a poor sense of direction that she routinely has to hold up her hands with the thumbs sticking out at right angles to see which one forms an L-shape between the forefinger and thumb in order to remember which is her left.

This doesn't work for me because I forget which way you have to hold your hand (obviously you can make an l-shape with your right hand if you hold it palm out).

That's also an almost guaranteed shot for me to forget what direction an 'L' points. I found it easier to remember that I write with my right hand, and then pretend to write something, and then I know the other one is the left.
posted by gjc at 3:34 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

According to one study, first person shooters might help: After only 10 hr of training with an action video game, subjects realized substantial gains in both spatial attention and mental rotation, with women benefiting more than men. Control subjects who played a non-action game showed no improvement.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:35 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

How would I go about concentrating and keeping track of my surroundings aside from noticing landmarks. Are there any visual exercises I can do? Any exercises that might better attune to me to my space in relation to other objects and locations.

This might be a pitfall- landmarks can change, and they can look the same from different angles. "Make a left at the Starbucks" can mean lots of different things, particularly if you run into the wrong Starbucks. Instead, try to force yourself to learn the streets.

I've lived in Chicago all my life, and know the city pretty well. But I still get completely spun around if I come up out of the subway, or exit a building from a different entrance than I entered.

Another thing I've found helpful is, when using highway signs, to take them very literally. If you see a sign pointing forward to connect with and get on an interstate, go forward either until you run into an interstate or you see an additional sign telling you to proceed differently.

Another pitfall: 90/94 is an East/West route, for example, but runs pretty much North/South where I life. I rarely remember whether I need to go "East" or "West" as the signs would have me choose, but I can almost always figure out whether I need to head in the direction of Milwaukee or Memphis. So remember to take in all the data and decide (guess?) which thing to take literally.
posted by gjc at 3:41 PM on June 12, 2012

You also have to believe you can do it, and not get too freaked out about being lost. Being lost is totally fine — that's how you get un-lost later. We moved quite a bit when I was a kid, and one of the first things we would do was get in the car and "go get lost." By navigating around without a purpose, you are less stressed, you are free, you can see how things start to join up, and then when you later run across the same locations, you can recognize and remember.
posted by dame at 3:48 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Get a compass for your car. Even a cheap ball compass will help you learn to use N/S/E/W. Pause on your way to places, and read street signs. Spend time looking at maps, and noticing that Blue Street is perpendicular to Zucchini Street until it makes a weird jog, or whatever. This helps me to build a mental map of an area, and have detailed areas of knowledge within it. Pay attention to how many miles (1/10s of a mile) are between the stoplight near the RR tracks and the turn onto the Boulevard. If you cross State Rt. 99 on the way to the restaurant, look up Rt. 99. I live in New England, and there are hills, rivers, and lakes, so there are few straight roads. But once I get an area into my mental map, I'm a lot better at getting around.
posted by theora55 at 3:50 PM on June 12, 2012

Where do you live? It makes a difference. I was abysmal with directions until my twenties, when I moved to Chicago with its super-organized grid. Suddenly I knew how to get to places! Then I moved to Boston, which is nearly impossible to navigate without a GPS. Surprisingly, enough of my sense of direction has stuck around that I don't get too lost... much.

In the event that you can't move to Chicago for several years, my advice would be to start with a small area, preferably with an easy-to-learn system, and try to memorize it. If your town isn't laid out in a convenient grid, look for a college campus or maybe the interior of a hotel if you can get in one. Amusement parks are good, too! This is practice, and the more you practice the better you'll be.

It helps me to figure out the most important streets in my area and try to remember where they intersect and where they are in relation to places I know (not necessarily landmarks in the traditional seen-from-the-street sense, but "oh that's near Sue's house").

Another thing I do, if I have access to a map/GPS and just need to quickly figure out which way I'm going, is to look at the two nearest cross streets on either side of me and figure out which one is "right," i.e. in the direction I should be going. Then I start walking/driving, and note the first street I come to. If it isn't the "right" or "wrong" street, that usually means I need to look at the map again.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:51 PM on June 12, 2012

HOw does one know where North is? Or West or East?

I grew up in the Rocky Mountain front range, where the mountains were always visible and always to the west, so I learned the rest of the directions relative to the mountains. Is there a similar fixed point from which to navigate in your area?
posted by scody at 3:52 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to be a horrific navigator. Now I'm merely mediocre. What helped me was buying a Thomas Guide for my city. This is an incredibly detailed map, broken up into sections and spiral-bound, with indications as to what page is to the north / south / east / west of the page you're on. If you take the time, before you leave, to map out every route in the Thomas Guide, you can start to build an overall gestalt of how your area hangs together.
posted by KathrynT at 3:52 PM on June 12, 2012

I am the exact same way and I've always called it directional dyslexia. my whole life has been filled with detours, confusion, frustration, and even "I'm loooost!!" breakdowns.

seconding finding landmarks, if you remember. like the tree where you exited the parking garage. or the store in the mall you walked by in the beginning. the GPS on my iPhone is also a lifesaver, along with the compass in my car. another thing that helps (if you're in a coastal state) is actually visualizing the state. I'm in san diego, so beachward is to the west. inland is to the east. north is toward LA, south is toward mexico. I know that sounds crazy to people who aren't similarly challenged, but sometimes it helps.

do you know your left from your right?
posted by changeling at 3:54 PM on June 12, 2012

Try turning this from a spatial problem into a narrative one. You have a good memory for facts etc - you can use that to your advantage. At school for example, try memorizing the buildings along the routes you take. Then if you get lost, if you see any one of the buildings you've memorized, you can walk all the way around it and figure out where you are when you find the next or previous building on your route. You can scale this down to things like getting through the mall back to your car, or scale it up to memorizing street names and highway exits. If you live in a place with a strong grid, these things are a lot easier.

Focus on learning your most important routes backwards and forwards. Then try memorizing a hub-and-spoke or point-to-point set of routes that covers your city. If you do that, you can string the routes together to get all over the place, and you only have to deal with a little bit of territory when you have to go someplace new. Eventually, you will have a great deal of geographical knowledge. You'll just be accessing it linearly, or temporally, instead of spatially.
posted by expialidocious at 4:06 PM on June 12, 2012

HOw does one know where North is? Or West or East? Plus how does one visualize onself on a map.

Let's figure out what direction you are facing right now. You are sitting at a computer, facing some unknown direction. Go to Google maps, type in your address, and zoom in on your house.
Can you work out which way are are facing?

"Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face West" - Stand, R.E.M.
posted by at at 4:28 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

RapcityinBlue -

I'm watching this thread with interest because I have the exact same difficulty. Like you, I find maps no help. What good does a map do when it's meaningless in relation to where I am? It might as well be a ruler for all the good it does in pointing me in the right direction.

I have learned that anxiety makes my sense of direction exponentially worse. Kicking myself because I should know how to get from Point A to Point B doesn't get me there any faster and just makes me feel like shit. (Dear brain: NOT HELPFUL.)

So I do what I can to mitigate that: GPS on my phone, try to allow for enough time to get where I'm going, ask for directions in terms of landmarks, and keep working on accepting this as a quirk in my wiring, not a reflection of my intelligence.

(Also, yay cameraphone! A visual memory with references of where I parked my car goes much farther than 'E4', you know?)
posted by Space Kitty at 5:39 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It might help to know a little about how you do get around, how you already orient yourself to your space. You do have orientation, but it's different than most people's. Some idea of your process may help us give you more suggestions.

For example, do you have an easier or harder time navigating spaces with lots of visual diversity or similarity? What kind of directions make the most sense to you? When you're lost, what do you do to get reoriented? If the string image doesn't help in complex places, what does help?

I tend to organize space in my head by the general first then the specific. I worry more about getting into the right area before I fuss with getting to the exact spot I need to be. I trust that getting to the right area will start cuing my memory for the right spot. Hurrying makes me less likely to pause to make the mental/visual notes I know help me, so avoiding a rush helps a lot too. I know that I have a harder time in the burbs with less visual diversity and fewer anchors that stand out to me. I know that if I can find my way to certain main arteries, certain neighborhoods, freeway entrances, I can get un-lost. etc etc.

What I'm getting at is to pay attention what already works for you and what your processes you already have in place and build from there.
posted by space_cookie at 6:12 PM on June 12, 2012

I have some of this, although perhaps a milder case. It was great when I was traveling more for a living (not). I think it's helpful to realize you're not some kind of freak or idiot - lots of people have a certain amount of difficulty reading maps.

Why fight using the GPS, at least when driving? It's been a godsend, especially when out of town. I basically KNEW how to read a map, but found following it extremely dangerous when driving. Once you set a GPS (while you're parked, please?), it can do the work and even suggest corrections if you miss a turn. I find putting it in 3D mode or "track up" as opposed to "north up" makes it easier, especially on the interstate, as it always shows you the direction things should look like out the windshield...

As far as direction-finding to get out of a building, I really think most people work off landmarks, not compass directions. Not sure how you get better at that, other than practice, practice, practice. It is possible with a smartphone to drop a pin on the map where the car is, for example, to at least know if you're heading in the right direction.

I think the extent of the signage found in most hospitals and airports should tell you that this isn't some magical ability the "rest" of us have to know what direction they should be going. I was going for x-rays and back to a orthopedic clinic in a large urban hospital, and had to do this every few months for a while (and believe me, at this point in my life I didn't want to walk any further than necessary). Got turned around every time.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:17 PM on June 12, 2012

One other idea, how about using the voice recorder in your smartphone to record yourself speaking the directions as you go through a building. Then you can play it back when you need to retrace your steps.

For everything outside of buildings, I think GPS is the way to go.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:46 PM on June 12, 2012

Seems to me that to improve any skill, you need to practice.

Start by checking your sense of orientation in a small, familiar space. Stand in your living room with your back to the front door, eyes closed. Then slowly turn 180 degrees ... or what you think is 180 degrees. Open your eyes and check. Is the door where you expected it to be? Practice until you can face the door squarely every time. Then change up the exercise to make it more complex. Try to turn several times and end up with the door on your left or navigate from the next room to the door without touching anything, eyes closed. The idea is to get a sense of where you are in space without visual references.

Then add the visual. Go to a familiar outdoor location, like a neighborhood park. Stand near a tree, then turn and walk directly away from it for a distance you choose ... say, ten car lengths or the width of your front yard. Turn and check. Did you move in a straight line? Did you judge the distance accurately? Pay attention to the cues you used to navigate. Are you counting steps? Picking a reference in the distance ahead? "Feeling" it in your body? Again, make the exercise more complex -- walk away in a zig-zag or follow a path away, then turn to see where the tree is. Is it where you expected it to be? If not, can you figure out why?

To improve your map reading, try creating one. From memory, draw a map of a place you know very well, maybe a local store or mall. Make it as accurate and detailed as possible. Then go to that place and see how well you did. Any surprises? Did you forget anything important or over/underestimate any distances? Those could be clues about your unique navigational weaknesses.

Try locating yourself on your map, then mark another location with an X and follow your position on the map as you go there. Keep the map "north up" as you walk. Then go back to your starting point, again following your map, but turn it when you turn so that it's oriented like the space you're moving through. Which way makes it easier for you to "see" yourself in the map? Next, get a map of your hometown. Trace the route you use to get to work or go shopping. Then keep the map next to you as you drive that route and reference it frequently. Does it begin to make more sense to you?

My sister inherited Mom's directional dyslexia and they went through some of these types of exercises together. My sister learned that she judges distances well, but angles badly. So she does fine navigating an area where the street grid is perfectly regular, but has trouble when she must travel on a meandering road or a street that moves diagonally to the rest of the grid. Diagnosis didn't cure her, but it helped her prepare for where she may have problems.
posted by peakcomm at 6:59 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't think anybody comes with built-in navigational skills - it's almost completely learned behavior. If nobody really took time to demonstrate it and instruct you, how would you know how to use a map?

Maybe try an orienteering course. They are accustomed to teaching people with no skills (cub scouts, new recruits) how to locate themselves, then locate themselves on a map, then travel to places on the map. It's a set of instructions, written in code. If you don't know the code, you can't utilize the map. You have to learn it first.

Once you have the map skills thing in your head, I imagine your brain will start mapping your journeys for you, indoors or out. Sort of like trying not to think of an elephant right now.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:06 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have the same problem to some degree. I actually once read an article (I think it was on Salon?) about a connection that had been made between people who have spatial difficulties and verbal gifts (might explain your good memory; my memory is pretty good, too).

I try to use other skills to make up for this. I usually rely on landmarks to get around since things will stick out for me visually. I do often get lost temporarily, but I have found that by asking others or remembering landmarks, I've never gotten seriously lost. When going somewhere new, remember to leave ahead of time.

Even though my sense of direction is pretty bad, I've managed to get around in a foreign country for years. I think this is because I compensate by using visual cues (noticing things others might not, and remembering them), and also because I've used my verbal skills to learn the language well enough to ask others. I am sure that your other skills can make up for your bad sense of direction, too.
posted by bearette at 7:24 PM on June 12, 2012

Nthing having one eye is not the issue here. I have a hideous sense of direction, long the butt of many jokes and the excuse behind many missed appointments, and I have use of both eyes. A close friend has only one eye. She's an inveterate traveler, and good driver, and her sense of direction is just fine.

I'm not quite sure why my sense of direction is so bad, but I suspect being overly verbal (What do you mean this is a bridge? This is not what I think of when I think of bridge! Taking the ramp is synonomous with taking the exit!? ) has often gotten in the way.

I also don't think I've ever been terribly interested--despite the fact that I, too, travel a lot. Taking a subway typically isn't such a huge drain on my directional resources. Neither is finding things in relatively gridded cities. Even so, when someone else is taking or accompanying me somewhere, I typically pay no attention whatsoever to where we're going. This could be on foot, by car, or by whatever other means. From time to time, I mean to pay attention, but then somehow I get into conversation, pay attention to the architecture instead, and so on.

I also think there's a genetic component. My father is just as bad. And he works in a visual field, but his sense of direction is just as bad as mine. My mother, meanwhile, also works in a visual field. But her sense of direction is just fine. When I need directions, I go to her. If I'm with my father, we're always lost.

I have found when I'm lost that making myself go all the way back to the first bad turn and doing it again helps prevent a future recurrence. I've never paid a whole lot of attention to directionals, but I have learned to move the map to reflect where I am at any given moment. GPS has helped me learn to calculate distance better. I find Garmin almost impossibly helpful for driving, and Google maps quite good for walking. In fact, if you have an electronic phone, and install Google maps the "Where am I now" feature can probably help teach you where North is in your town or city.

Good luck.
posted by Violet Blue at 8:07 PM on June 12, 2012

Sense of direction and spatial awareness is a pretty complicated set of skills. From your question I can't tell what part of this set of skills isn't falling into place or if any of them are. My suggestion is that your break down all the parts of navigating and see which ones you do best, and which ones you have a problem with.

What happens if you are in your bedroom and spin around on the spot two or three times. When you stop spinning can you feel which side of the room your door is on? If you concentrate on which direction do you feel it kind of pulling on the muscles on that side of your body. To me this sort of feels like the sensation when you think someone is staring at you from that side. Can you literally feel a direction?

Do you remember pictures of things? So if you turn at the corner do you remember a rough image of the building on the corner where you turn? If someone gives you a photograph of that corner can you recognize it?

How do you do with navigating by street numbers? If you are already on Blandiss Avenue and the number on the nearest building is 912 can you find your way to 857 without having to puzzle about it?

Do you ever help yourself figure out which way to go by pointing in the direction you are trying to making yourself go?

Can you use light to navigate with? If it is much brighter to one side of you can you use that light to stay aware of what direct you are facing? If not can you use a landmark like a big hill or a big building, assuming you are allowed to look around until you see it?

I pretty much never get lost outside, but if I have to rotate more than 360* when I am indoors in some kind of a warren such as finding an elevator and then going up it, I then have to switch from which side feels like the right side to creating a mental map. Can you handle 90*? If so, can you handle 180*?

Can you use any kind of a map at all? For example, could you draw a map of your own bedroom showing the placement of the furniture on all the correct walls. Could you do this without looking?

How good are you at estimating distances and relative sizes of things? Can you tell if a book will fit into a bookshelf if it is a close fit? Can you estimate if one side of a building is shorter, longer or the same as an adjacent side? If you take an underground walking tunnel can you guess if the tunnel is one block long as opposed to just under the street?

Can you dance?

Can you dance with a partner?

Do you get confused with what side something is on when you see it in a mirror?

If someone gives you a list of three street names do you get the order of them muddled?

Okay. Now that I've asked such a huge bunch of questions, my suggestion is to work with any of them that you answered confidently that you could do that. If you remember street names easily then work with directions in a list format and intersperse directions with names and numbers.

If the words "turn right" don't work, can you draw an arrow turning to the right and follow that?

Can you work from an arial photograph?

Have you tried running your finger along the route on the map, tracing the route you want to figure out?

Does it help to say your directions out loud. "I need to turn right at the second corner..."?
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:17 PM on June 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh, and I forgot to say...! I had a free trial of www.luminosity.com, which is one of those companies that had some buzz for a while with "brain training" exercises, and the like. One of their games was highly directional and I scored egregiously low on it, but with practice I did get better! So there are exercises out there that can help with this. Something to think about, anyway.
posted by Violet Blue at 8:18 PM on June 12, 2012

How's your learning style? I used to think I was terrible at directions, because I'd get lost whenever someone told me directions....but then I got my hands on some maps, and made maps in my brain, and now it's all good....

You might be the opposite! If you're in a building, say where you're going out loud - even make it into a song, "I'm going right out the fountain, now down until the end of the hall, then left! Oh, hello lion statue, left at the lion!" or...I dunno. something.

If this works, I wouldn't worry so much about developing your spatial reasoning (I mean, unless you're concerned beyond directions). Different people have brains that work differently. I think it's much better to find a system that works with your brain than to try to rewire your brain.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 9:15 PM on June 12, 2012

My sister and I are both terrible with directions. My sister bought a dash mounted GPS and leaves out-loud turn by turn directions on in her car all the time -- even when she is going someplace she has been many times before. It seems to help her a lot. I've been thinking of doing it myself. Of course you can just use a phone, which I do when I have to, but with a dedicated GPS you never have to remember to charge it / load the GPS program.

I have found that one thing that helps me, when I'm walking to places I ought to know how to go because I've walked there before, is if I put myself into a sort of meditative state and just GO without thinking at all where I ought to be going. It seems I do have an innate sense of direction, but it's mostly subconscious and if I think too much about it and start second-guessing myself I get flustered and get turned around.

(By the way, this is total anecdata, but, even though we are both bad at directions, my sister does seem to be somewhat worse with directions than I am, and she is, in fact, legally blind in one eye.)
posted by BlueJae at 9:34 PM on June 12, 2012

Response by poster: This is interesting because I too have a very strong verbal sense, a high degree of verbal intelligence that allows me to understand very well arguments, ideas, and appreciate well written prose. Perhaps there is something to this inability to understand directions well and having an acute sense of words, their meanings, along with a highly unusual memory for facts, dates, and other things. I should also say that one of the interesting about my memory is that I am often able to start conversations right where they left off even years after the conversation took place. This strikes my friends as a little strange since they have long forgotten that we had talked about a particular that I am now, three years after the fact, bringing up. It's also led to strange situations where I've asked people about their girlfriends and romantic interest at the time when now they are completely over that person if not outright disdainful of him/her.

Also, right now I am teaching in a school where the buildings are spaced apart, that is to say not all the classes are located in one confined place. It's something of Chaplineque comedic routine to watch me navigate the small field grounds separating the buildings as I constantly keep going the wrong direction. To the outside observer it would probably appear like I'm putting on a show but in reality I really can't remember where I'm going. And this memory lapse is so frustrating, like I said before, because I can recall whole chunks of texts and even page numbers from things I've read or skimmed through in my spare time.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 11:07 PM on June 12, 2012

Response by poster: I should also add, for what it's worth, that I have absolutely no sense of rhythm and this is so extreme that I can't even use a simple rhythmic clap with my students to signal for everyone to get quiet. Yeah, it's that bad.

Is this adding up to any kind of diagnosis or medical case that anybody has heard before. Also keep the suggestions coming on how to overcome this problem or atleast mitigate it. I don't want to rely on GPSs as I've said before. I just want some sort of mental/spatial trick to force me to understand and remember where I am relative to things so i can get back to them. One thing I"m going to try to do tomorrow is to visualize myself from way up above as I am walking through the streets to see if that visual will help me to understand my surroundings better. Any other suggestions?

Any and old are helpful.
posted by RapcityinBlue at 11:12 PM on June 12, 2012

I've got fantastic spatial sense-- when applied to anything other than directions. I can rotate shapes in my mind and pack things into tight spaces and hey, I'm a physicist, so I actually use the spatial skills somewhat regularly.

My sense of direction is really atrocious, though. The only reason I stopped losing my car is I stopped owning one. (I have one again now, it's only a matter of time..)

I get lost in buildings that aren't simply connected, even ones where I've worked for years, I can't play FPS video games because I can't find my way around.. I got lost playing the video game "Flower". I've had to call friends up after meeting with them to ask which way they saw me walk up from so I have a hope of getting back to where I came from. When I go inside an unfamiliar building, sometimes I'll keep a finger pointing in the direction I came in from so that I know how it matches with the outside world.

I treat it mostly like a disability, since I've never found a way to make it better. I also don't do so well with audio memory, so I have to make sure to write things down, directions in particular. I have a smartphone with GPS (which I got when I moved to Boston, thankfully otherwise who knows what random "oh we don't *do* streetsigns here" neighborhood I'd still be stuck in). When people give me directions, I have no shame about asking for clarification, often multiple times. "I'm sorry, I'm bad with directions, I don't understand you. Can you explain it again?" If I'm going somewhere with other people, I ensure they know they're responsible for not getting lost. And bonus points if they remember where we parked the car.

I also miss living in Denver. Mountains are big, and they are west. (Here in Michigan, well, not so much. Boston was also tough that way). Living in a city with a grid-system and also with a visible-from-everywhere geographic feature was *nice*.

Huh, interestingly I also have bad rhythm, but I always assumed that was due to lack of musical training. Who knows?
posted by nat at 12:03 AM on June 13, 2012

I am also incredibly bad with directions (It took maybe 20 trips and 3.5 years of driving to my partner's grandfather's house, 22km/14mi away, for me to be willing to make the trip without the GPS or someone to navigate). I have come to understand it as being correlated with learning styles - I am a very verbal and auditory learner, and it's very hard for me to visualise something I haven't seen, or even to remember something I have seen in any great detail. Because my partner doesn't drive and has a much better sense of direction than I do, he usually navigates, which gets us there but doesn't actually increase my knowledge of the area. One of the things that I have found helpful is learning the names of the streets, and then I can at least remember that street x joins up with street y and I can plan a route that way. I can also rehearse the names of the streets I'll be taking that way. In terms of navigating on foot, I have found that attention makes a difference - if I'm going somewhere by myself, I always do better at navigating than if I go with a friend...heaven help me if someone says "meet you back at the car"! I am really unobservant so unless I'm deliberately searching for landmarks, I have no hope of remembering them. I haven't found any "trick" to make it easier, unfortunately - I suspect it's more fundamental than that - but some of the exercises people have suggested above sound promising over the long term. I may give them a go, but I'll be sticking with my GPS for the time being - while I take the point from the article linked above that being reliant on a GPS limits our interaction with the world, before I got a GPS there were so many places that I would be anxious to go, or would just not go to by myself. Getting lost sounds nice on a summer afternoon in Paris, but it's less enticing if you're a woman on foot at night, or if you're driving through peak hour traffic.
posted by Cheese Monster at 1:34 AM on June 13, 2012

I'm also super verbal and super bad with directions. I discovered a while ago that maps are (surprise!) actually these Highly Helpful Things, it's just that people like me need a slightly different approach. Lots of people whip out a map, run their finger from where they are to where they want to be, and then just follow this path as they've memorized it. For me, maps take a lot more orienting. Identify a landmark on your left. Then identify a landmark on your right. Physically spin your map until it is facing the same way you are facing. Now walk (/drive) straight until you encounter a road that will take you closer to your destination. When you turn, orient your map again! This is the only way I can use maps.

Also, when you're on your way home, you'll hit all of the landmarks in reverse, and all the directions you remember will be backwards. This finally dawned on me not too long ago. I'd walk somewhere, remember that my path had a ton of right turns, try to return using all right turns, and end up ...not at home. Dunno if this is stunningly obvious, but I always have to make sure to remember that logic.

I've also discovered that Google Maps knows the names of all of the buildings on my campus. That, plus choosing "walking" as my mode of transportation saved me untold times.
posted by estlin at 1:58 AM on June 13, 2012

I am the daughter of two Air Force navigators and no matter how much they tried, I am utterly awful with directions and self-orientation. The only time I've felt like I've been able to figure things out is using landmarks to figure out where I am or which direction I'm moving, whether it's water (I find it helpful to have moved to coastal areas as an adult), buildings (the Prudential Center in Boston is always mine), or natural features (yes, I do the sun thing). The only city I haven't felt completely lost in was Paris, because there was a river and the Eiffel Tower and I could always triangulate myself relative to where my hotel was so I could always manage to get back.

My conclusion is that there is no way for me to get better, there are only coping mechanisms.

I always travel with my iPhone with the maps set to tell me where I need to go even if I mostly think I know. I screw up left and right frequently so I've just learned to laugh when I do it in front of someone. I do try to take note of easily visible landmarks when I can to help myself triangulate and at least know what direction I should be walking, even if that direction is "toward that building" rather than "north". And for driving, I try to make sure I know the major throughways (interstates, highways, etc) and roughly what directions they run so that if all else fails, if I can get back to one of those big roads, I can figure out my way home.

And for what it's worth, I have an excellent memory otherwise and I am very much a visual, not a verbal, learner. (I will not remember your name after you introduce yourself to me, but six years later I'll still remember the license plate number and make/model of the car you came in)
posted by olinerd at 2:56 AM on June 13, 2012

Oh, and regarding being inside buildings: I'm a defense contractor so I spend a lot of time in grey-walled Cold War-era office buildings, and they are like impenetrable mazes to me. I always just make sure I'm following someone who knows where they're going (I'm usually being escorted anyway), or not feel shy about asking someone along the way.

And one more thing, just for the lulz: I have twice accidentally driven to Maine while I was aiming for other states. The first time I was aiming for New Hampshire (so understandable). The second time I was aiming for Vermont (which doesn't even border Maine). I simply have a broken internal inertial navigation sensor -- I can't "feel" when I'm moving the wrong direction because no particular direction ever feels more or less right to me.
posted by olinerd at 3:00 AM on June 13, 2012

I had an uncanny sense of direction until I had serious brain damage in my late twenties. One of the permanent physical results was that I lost all lower left peripheral vision.

When I was a kid we- an American family in a big old Ford station wagon- traveled all over Europe. I was the navigator, with maps and by asking local people for help- even if we had no language in common.

After the brain damage I realized I had lost much of my sense of direction. I didn't know which way to turn when I left buildings. Thirty years later I still have occasional problems, but find that I enjoy getting lost. I was a map-reader and map-lover before it happened, that may have helped.

I don't know how your lost your eye. I do know that losing part of my eyesight and having permanent brain damage somewhere in the right side of my brain did affect me. Another permanent effect is that I cannot remember numbers- I used to remember everyone birthdays, phone numbers, etc. Now it takes me months to learn my own new phone numbers.
posted by mareli at 6:29 AM on June 13, 2012

Try leveraging your memory for details into spacial things. Memorize the names of the buildings in the proper order. Once you've got that, start practicing with putting yourself at different buildings and visualizing yourself in the middle of that "number line" of buildings and figuring out which are to one side and which are to the other side.

Memorize the order of the streets in your area, correlating them to the addresses if you are on any kind of grid.
posted by gjc at 6:49 AM on June 13, 2012

You may be interested in reading about Non-Verbal Learning Disorder
posted by uans at 7:02 AM on June 13, 2012

I am absolutely the same way.

(1) You know how in video games, like the Sims, you can click a button to zoom back and forth from third person to first person? I think that is how normal people see the world. They can "zoom out" from their surroundings to a bird's eye view map of where they need to go. I'm guessing that definitely doesn't work for you.

(2) As for maps, ignore North East South West. What you need to do is turn the map. First find yourself on the map (... I know, easier said than done). Next, find your location and figure out the best way to get there. Then turn the map so that whatever is directly ahead of you is UP. Keep walking (checking every street you cross and building you pass to make sure you're going the right way and not too far). When it's time to turn right or left, make the turn, and then turn the map, so which ever direction you are going is up. I have no idea about the cardinal directions, I just think of each trip as a series of connected lines segments. When I finish one, I turn my body and then turn the map so the next segment is pointed up.

(3) Get a map of the campus where you teach. Before you leave any building for another, plan your trip there. Mentally rehearse it, including landmarks. Once you get outside, folllow (2) above.

(4) Never try to remember where you park. The outside and the inside of a building have no relation, as far as I can tell. Once you get inside, remember what's near the door you came in. Then look at a building map or follow signs until you get back to that same door.

(5) If there is a route or two that you know well, look at them on a map. You might be able to sort of connect them together mentally, and start making a very rudimentary mental map of your city.

Good luck!
posted by that's how you get ants at 4:17 PM on June 13, 2012

I am like this too. I have a gps as others have suggested, but also carry a notebook EVERYWHERE. A page for each day with a to do list, and important things like a note that says "men's underwear, sears" so I know which entrance my car is outside at the mall, street addresses and phone numbers for all the day's destinations when I get lost, etc.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 11:12 AM on June 14, 2012

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