Do you remember the first time you realized that you weren't alone? Maybe it's how you built a friendship with your closest friend - when the two of you realized that neither one of you could manage to pay attention during one of Mrs. Coop's lectures on the beauty of geometry.
There are countless examples of the great light dawning that whatever bad that's happening is not only happening to you. For example, I will never forget the heady delight I felt when I realized that while one of my children spent much of his kindergarten day daydreaming, he was doing it with four other kids.
From troubles in school to heart aches, somehow there is strength in learning that while poop happens, the bird is not just dropping his load only on your head.
I've sought out these people with hunger, and I've found them with joy. I've located the mathaphobics who go blank whenever anything involves carrying or borrowing. I've tracked down the people whose children are having similar difficulties to mine. I've built relationships with wives of hunters.
In this very column I've confessed to weaknesses only to find they are not mine alone. And, to be perfectly honest, when I saw how well that worked, I've made these confessions figuring that I'll find someone -- or maybe even two - people who will warm the cockles of my heart by saying, "Me too."
So, I have yet another confession to make.
Hello, my name is Terry and I'm directionally impaired.
I stood outside the county Courthouse last night reading the sign on the door. The people there to attend the Budget Committee meeting should enter by the door on the east side. Frantically, I looked around me. No one else was within sight. There was no one who looked like a budget aficionado to lead the way. Just short of panic I noticed a really big clue. The sun was setting.
Without a shred of confidence, I ambled to the opposite side of the building and there, waiting for the wayward, was Budget Officer Bob Heffner, who apparently always knows which way east is. I don't know what would have happened if the sun hadn't come out in the late afternoon. Odds are I would have just walked endlessly around the building until I saw a budgetary face.
There was more information. The sign added that what I was looking for was at the "back" of the building. Of course, reading "east" made me feel so insecure that I was questioning my very ability to select what was the front and what was the back of the building. Maybe the clock tower is the front. Maybe the back is where I go to take my ballot. Start me off by requiring I find a point on a compass and I'll even question the location of my own house.
I know that I'm directionally impaired. What I need to know is that there are others like me. I'm looking for the folks who not only prefer their directions reduced to "left" and "right." I'm also talking about those who actually have to stop and think about which is left and which is right. (I have to use my thumb to locate the ring on my left ring finger to be positive.)
That's why you'll never catch me venturing into the woods without a compass-brained friend. That's also why I want to know well in advance which way I'll have to turn (at least a mile prior to the maneuver would be good). C'mon. Surely, I'm not the only one.
And, if you think I'm a danger on the road, all I can say is you should have seen me when my mother enrolled me in ballroom dancing taught by Mr. Bud. To this day, I'm confident I'm the reason that he retired.
Terry Murry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (541) 966-0810.