A few lost thoughts
Not knowing where you are: having gone astray or bewildered as to your whereabouts.
Knowing that you are in the wrong place in relation to that place where you should be and having little or no idea of how to get from the former to the latter. This is perhaps the strangest thing about being lost: we know where we are; it is quite simply where we do not want to be. (This begs the question though – do you really want to be where you are going? This depends on where you are going, why you are going there and whom or what is at journey’s end.)
If you are obliged to go somewhere unpleasant or spend time with people you don’t entirely appreciate, getting lost is a far better option than finding one’s way.
Of course, nowadays getting truly lost either by error or intention is quite difficult and nigh impossible thanks to those neat little SatNav systems that seem to equip all our cars
You take a wrong turning whilst driving somewhere. Just wait a while and the GPS or Satnav will have you back on the right road in a few minutes. Let’s face it, getting lost to explain your late arrival or total failure to show up, is no longer a credible excuse.
I suppose you could always deliberately type in the wrong destination so you don’t end up where you really don’t want to be. Consciously type in a variant of the address, to end up in the wrong place, which will probably be the right place for you, seeing as you didn’t want to go where you were supposed to be going.
So, we have the technology to set us back on the straight and narrow when we err from our predestined path. Take away the technology though and we are all instantly exposed to those feelings of helplessness, panic, frustration and anger that come with being truly lost.
Think back to when you were a small kid. You’re out shopping with mum; you might get bored and wander off, you might just simply lose sight of her – as you try to get back to mum and can’t find her you are suddenly engulfed by a huge wave of panic. The realisation that you are lost and the thought that you may never see your mum again.
As adults the panic is perhaps replaced by anger and frustration. Pure and absolute blind rage at being lost. We are fully grown, intelligent adults, how can we be lost? It would be so easy to ask someone, but, that would be too easy and asking your way – though a common sense resolution to being lost, it is (from a male perspective anyway) an admission of defeat.
So, ask your way: of course, you have to understand and memorise the directions – a challenge for someone like me who has no sense of direction and still has trouble distinguishing between left and right.
« Excuse me, could you tell me the way to …. »
« Sure ; You go over the next set of lights, then first left, second right and right again until you get to… »
I got lost at the first set of lights – please, just get in the car and show me the way.
After years of navigational anguish, I no longer say that I am lost. I am not lost. I am simply where I should not be at an appointed time or everyone else is lost – I haven’t lost them, they have lost me. A far wiser approach than flying into helpless rage, tearing up the map and shouting at the wife. I just wonder how many couples have cited lousy navigational skills as a reason for divorce?
Being lost and feeling lost.
If I haven’t already lost you with this lost diatribe it is because today I am feeling lost.
Lost in summer
Lost, in summer
In the first case we have abandoned ourselves to seasonal mindset. We have succumbed to summer. We are in summer torpor, perhaps in holiday mood.
As opposed to the latter, where we are just lost, trying to run to our usual routine whilst the entire world is in a summer frame of mind.
Saturday August 1st – on any normal Saturday, the centre of town should be buzzing with shoppers. The local weekly market should be heaving with basket brandishing types in search of fresh produce. This morning though … downtown is dead, most shops have shut up for their annual summer holiday, there are a few tourists milling around the meagre collection of stall in the market – everyone is on holiday. The great annual summer shutdown is in full swing and town will be like a ghost town until late August. There are a few other lost souls in town, and thank heavens for those national chain stores – some shops are actually open –
I’m trying to think of the advantages of living in a summer ghost town. I can get a parking space right in the centre of town; I don’t have to stand in line for ages at the checkout in the local supermarket; staff in shops seem more relaxed, less hassled, they have time to smile and exchange a few pleasantries; there are actually sales staff available to answer product queries.
I am though lost in small-town summer boredom. There’s nothing going on, because everyone is away on holiday.
Yes, I have always had problems with the great French summer shutdown. From late July to late August, the entire nation shuts down and heads off on holiday. It is possibly worse in the nation’s major cities. How many times have I heard Parisians complaining that they can’t get their daily bread because every single baker’s in the capital seems to have closed down for the summer?
I suppose I shouldn’t complain. I live in a country where holidays are still sacred. French workers still get five to six weeks of annual paid leave. Offices and factories will actually close two to three weeks for their annual summer break – compare this to other countries, where even a public holiday too many is seen as a reason for economic suicide.
Yes there are those who complain that the holidays are too long. There are parents who would like to see their kids back at school in mid-August. There are employers who moan about annual leave being far too generous. When France shuts down for the summer they are losing valuable business.
Lost, in summer, I should just lose myself to summer.
Finally, in this lost post
In France, this is the biggest getaway weekend of the summer. Road conditions are not just red, they are black, meaning the nation’s main holiday routes are pretty much at gridlock – France is at best a slow moving mass of vehicles and at worst a gigantic car park. This is the weekend when those who have taken their holidays in July head home and those who take their vacation in August all head for the beach. So, no danger of getting lost, just head to the end of your road point you car in the right direction and join the long line of cars crawling to the sea.