Perhaps there’s a particular audio frequency – probably within the spectrum of the snare drum (that constant, repetitive “crack” of the snare drum) – that kills the specific brain cells essential for having great memory of details and a strong sense of direction. In all likelihood, its effects are most profoundly felt by bassists, who are invariably standing next to drummers and listening to them intently.
I am a bassist. And, despite rumors to the contrary, I have found that drummers are usually very intelligent people, with a natural affinity for technical equipment, smart enough to wear ear protection and – while not always great at taking musical direction – are very good at navigational directions.
Ah, directions! Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I suffer from several deficiencies. And one glaring deficit of mine is that I am directionally challenged. The stereotypical “guy” joke, of course, is that men won’t ask for directions, because they are supremely confident of their navigational skills, even when they should not be.
Another humorous, stereotypical situation is that guys will always leave the toilet seat up and their wives/girlfriends/mothers/sister/cohabiting females always want the seat left down. Gender wars ensue! But, in our household, I really want the seat AND the lid down. Quite early in my marriage I had to (carefully and lovingly … mainly) work to convince my wife of the merits of the lid-down toilet. Doesn’t it look better? If it’s seat down or seat up only, what’s the lid for? I don’t want to see toilet water unless I have to use it. I guess I’m a bit weird.
There was a time when – like most guys – I thought I was good at directions. But I am not. It was tough to own up to it, but it’s true. Years ago, I realized that I should not ask for directions because, not only will I get them confused and become lost, I am most likely lost now. Instead I’ll need a navigator and I will ask them to listen to the directions. Or I’ll make sure I’ve got a good GPS or a smartphone with maps.
In case you’re reading this in an age where GPS technology is redundant – which might be in fifteen minutes or so as far as I know – GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a satellite-based navigation system using a personal or vehicular monitor to find position and directions. A lot of people use their smartphones for directions now. A smartphone is a devise that can also be used to call people back, but it is rarely used for that purpose.
Thankfully, my wife Brooke understands that I am bad at directions, loves me still and affords me enormous grace. She’s a far better navigator than I am anyway.
I don’t think I’m just making excuses. I am good at other stuff. Just not directions. It’s been a freeing thing to let go and own my weakness in this area. It’s also helped make it easier to own up to other areas of my life where I need Grace.
“It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! … How many of us have learned to look inwardly with courage? We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God.” Oswald Chambers,“My Utmost For His Highest”, January 12th.