Is there anything more volatile in a relationship than taking and giving directions?
’You were supposed to go down that street.’
‘But you said Andrew St and that was Water St.’
‘But Andrew St comes off Water St.’
‘You didn’t say that.’
‘I said take the next right.’
‘But then you said take Andrew St and there wasn’t a sign for that. Where do I turn now?’
‘I don’t know. Maps hasn’t reloaded.’
That was a near-close-to-the-truth dramatisation of a ‘conversation’ my husband and I had while driving around Brisbane. on the weekend
I needed to drop him off for a conference because the humidity is so bad in Brisbane, he would have been dripping with sweat if he’d walked the 15 minutes to his destination. We were also running late from breakfast.
I seem to do most of the driving now, particularly when we’re on holiday like in Brisbane. I tend to set Google Maps and listen to its instructions but this time Glen was reading them out.
After a few wrong turns – mostly his fault, of course – I pull over and gently ask if I can have a look at the phone. It’s a bit like asking a hungry dog if you can take away his bone; you might lose your arm.
But after a second gentle enquiry if I could be of help, he handed it over. I switched it from walk mode to drive mode, reset the route and we were on our way. Calm descended upon the car.
Rather than snap and snipe at each other any further, we had a much more gentle ‘conversation’ about how each of us reads Google Maps.
I tend to trust Google Maps blindly, whereas Glen is more questioning.
He also likes to say things like ‘head north’ or ‘turn south’, which make sense to him (he used to be a Scout, a fact he’s rather proud of and I think is adorable) but means absolutely nothing to me (especially when the clouds and buildings block out the sun).
I say, ‘turn there’ and point into the distance, which aligns perfectly with where I’m sitting but leaves him perplexed.
This time we learned that he likes to get an overall view of the route, not liking that Google Maps doesn’t let him zoom out far enough while still directing him.
Meanwhile, I’m happy enough to know that when Google says turn left, I turn left.
There’s probably something in that about not seeing the wood for the trees, but at least I arrive at the wood by turning right at the second tree on the left after following Google’s directions.
I dropped him off with a kiss and a bit of a smile, because he gets so cute when he’s flustered (as long as I’m not flustered at the same time), but it got me thinking about differing perspectives.
There are plenty of stories of couples not being able to read a map together, and you can probably draw longer bows about how that translates into how they live their lives.
I can see that my focus on the smaller things ties into preferring for a tighter world view and then expanding over time.
Meanwhile I can see connections between Glen’s broader overview and his work, going from large to small.
It was important for me to see this about him, me and our relationship.
It definitely helped curb any harsh ‘conversations’, but even more importantly, I realised that getting worked up over this little thing was really not going to help either of us and a calm demeanour went a long way.
We left happy. After all, isn’t that the real destination?
Do you and your partner fight over directions or are you going the same way? Leave a comment below and let me know.