Lost in a foreign country
Hippocampus is the part of our brain responsible for spatial orientation. I have noticed that my hippocampus does not cooperate with me. It always sends me in the wrong direction. Since I know this, I tried not to listen to my first impulse – which was supposed to be wrong. It didn’t help much. Nowadays I am using navigators. The downside is that for longer distances I also need a car attached to the navigator – and this is what got me into trouble in 2005.
I had to visit a customer inAugsburgin Germany. I knew that I will travel alone and I specially requested a car with a navigator. This was not standard equipment – so, I took the only car that had it: a Citroen with automatic gearbox.
I had no clue what I was up against. The first challenge was to fix my chair. There was no mechanical lever in the entire machine and even if I turned on the engine and start randomly to press all the buttons, the chair didn’t want to move. I had to find the user guide, turn on the light and read it in order to move the chair.
Proud that I could reach the pedals, I left the parking house. It didn’t last long until I realized what reflexes generate the driving of a manual gear box. After I almost hit my head in the windshield, I’ve learn that I should NOT touch the brake when I change the gears – and that I should NOT use my left leg at all.
But slowly, there was progress; the car was driving nice, making a low frequency sound – it was comfortable – until it started to get cold. Outside the car was summer, over 30 degrees Celsius. Inside the temperature started to drop so fast, that the chair started to heat on. The user guide was far away, I was on the motorway – nowhere to stop – and none of the bottoms that I’ve pushed, didn’t adjust the inner temperature. Soon my nose started to run and it there was 16 degrees inside. The adventure didn’t stop here; this car had a mind of its own: it decided alone when to turn on the lights, when to wipe the windshield, how fast, how slow and on top of everything the navigator was in German language. I was totally lost: a Romanian in a French car, coming fromFinland, visiting a German customer and the navigator was not my friend anymore.
You know how friendly and polite the navigators usually are. They never get mad if you don’t understand the direction, they always find another route, they might repeat several times: make an U-turn, but still in a polite way. They might also send you to a street which does not exist anymore – but this is entire you fault. You should always have the maps updated. Nevertheless if you don’t understand the difference between: “bleiben Sie links” and “biegen sie links ab” – you are in trouble of driving in or out of the motor way which means always tens of kilometers more to drive. Another drawback, when using a navigator is that you always need the right address.
So there I was, in the awful cold car, with the wipers and the light out of my control, with no address and trying to follow the receptionist indications: first left, then the second right and then left again. Easy, isn’t it? And guess what happen? I’ve got lost again.
Once Christopher Columbus said: “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” And when all the machines fail to help me I went off the car and I have found on the streets, in the middle of Germany, 2 Romanians which help me to reach my destination and meet my client.