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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

Where am I?

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

Where am I?

I have a very peculiar sense of direction. It’s strangely selective. When it comes to restaurants, it’s perfect. But give me a new residence address or business and it’s another story.

I have an antenna-like ability to find restaurants anywhere on the globe. Drop me in a city and give me a restaurant name and you will find me there on time with the menu open. I have found restaurants in foreign cities such as Budapest, Prague and Madrid and also in a multitude of US cities. Punctual, and with a good appetite, I will then happily navigate the menu! I dare say, in quite a few languages.

But, give me the address to someone’s home and I’m a mess. I twist the number order, get the town and street wrong, and if there’s an alley involved I’m better off just staying home. And what drives me to real madness, is after I finally figure out how to get there, my friends move. Many are following the grand exodus out of their 30+ year homes into lovely condominiums up north and down south. Most of these units are buried in the middle of huge complexes with a multitude of challenges: street names that all sound the same, no driveway parking and some of the front doors are located in the most unusual places. I just get hopelessly lost and frustrated.

When traveling distances, I generally do pretty well because I can read a map - a skill quickly reaching extinction with GPS. I am much better suited for the tools we used in the last century - compasses and maps. My WWII navigator father was big on teaching us directions - besides using a sextant, he had learned to read the stars over the dark Pacific sky. But, I don’t rely on the constellations - I’m not convinced they would work too well on the Jersey roads.

A few years back, I was lost in South Jersey on unfamiliar roads and felt most satisfied that I could untangle the mess by using the compass on my car. New Jersey is not too difficult, because there are geographic boundaries that work as clues: the Delaware river on the west, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the New Jersey Turnpike. If you know your Jersey diners, they work well as landmarks too. All you need is a bit of time and a full tank of gas. So now, if its not a restaurant, I give myself a lot of extra time to get where I need to go.

Fortunately, time is what I seem to have a little extra of. 

But, a word of advice if you want to meet up. Let’s not meet at your new home. I can follow you over there later. We are best off selecting a restaurant and time, and I will be there right on the money!

Jane Rubin is the author of the memoir, Almost a Princess, My Life as a Two-Time Cancer Survivor available in most online bookstores. The royalties are donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

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