On Lynn Dorman’s blog “Do You Have a Sense of Direction” Yes? No? I answered NO! reminded me of my days as a letter carrier. Yes. I delivered mail for The United States Postal Service. For six years they actually let me drive one of those wobbly little jeeps, and then one of those whopping big trucks out onto the streets of Newport Beach, never quite able to tell north from south, east from west. And then sometimes while “looping” a street on foot, getting so turned around I couldn’t remember where I parked my vehicle.
But I looked the part in my regulation blue uniform, complete with eagle insignia on my shirt sleeve. In summer I wore culottes (knee-length split skirt—no shorter than two inches from the knee, if you please), and in our so-called winter, long, very badly designed pants. Oh, and black regulation shoes that were even clunkier than those I was required to wear at St. John’s Convent School in Kitwe, Zambia. At least we didn’t have to wear white socks like I did then, just these little socklets or whatever they’re called. Oh, and get this, we had pith helmets! Blue of course. Shades (excuse the pun) of those days when my family took overnight trips up to the Congo, that time crossing the Kafue on a pontoon when my dad snapped a photo me as a five-year-old clad in my underwear and a pith helmet (beige, of course), standing beside our old Ford while the Africans chanted and pulled us across the river.
To this day, I still have dreams of being late delivering mail and I still get lost whenever I venture out of my familiar terrain which I often do. But now I don’t panic. I’ve got GPS.