Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Human Direction Vs SatNavPosted on Monday, October 28th, 2013 at 11:23 AM
One of the reasons why I voted Governor Babatunde Fashola was the installation of street sign poles. I am not ashamed to admit it; honestly, I was just about fed up of having to describe how to get to my house using the ‘Ile-epo’ on the service lane.
Giving directions to a place is not one of my strongest suits, and it is one I’d openly admit. Having to ask for directions is another thing that I do with absolute caution, because in Lagos, it is not exactly the most guaranteed thing that you’d get the right answer.
Lagos is one huge maze of roads and turns and improperly marked areas. There are some places in Lagos that you can’t go with a car and you have to park a mile away because there are huge craters in the middle of what’s supposed to be a road. In those areas, you have to rely solely on the expertise of the powered tricycles, ‘Keke Napep’ or the commercial motorcycles, ‘Okada’. Asides being a means of transportation, Okadas have become a very useful tool for navigation in Lagos.
When my friend, Yetunde, got married and moved to Ojodu, I was filled with the tiniest bit of panic. “How am I supposed to visit you in Ojodu? Is it on the ‘main’ road?”. Her response was even scarier. “No now. It’s not difficult. When you turn in after that petrol station, just ask an Okada man to lead you.”
Between Okada men trying to exploit you because you’re asking for directions, and people who just derive joy in misdirecting you, it’s not exactly fun having to figure out how to get to where you’re going if the roads are not clearly marked. Anytime, I have to go to some place new and not easily identifiable, I prefer to go with someone who knows how to get there and we’d probably have to make the trip more than once before I have a handle on how to get there.
So you can imagine my shock when, many years ago, a boyfriend found his way back to my friend’s house (on his own). He was randomly mentioning my friend and her sister to me when the bells went off in my head ‘Dude, you’d never been to her house before we went to drop her that night. How did you find your way back there on your own?’. Sadly, it was the beginning of the downward spiral of that relationship. But, all sadness aside, I was in awe of his ability to ‘sabi road’.
Usually, it should be easy to just figure out how to get to where you’re going by asking someone who knows how to get there. However, sometimes, you find that you’ve asked someone who has absolutely no clue how to get there and isn’t willing to tell you the truth. Then they just end up misdirecting you and you’re going round and round like a Barber’s Chair. Women are often accused of this. It is said that women are very terrible at giving directions. I don’t know if it’s a gender thing or if it’s just people not knowing how to aptly describe something they can see in their head.
You also find that you’re asking 4 people for the same direction because there’s no guarantee that the first 3 people gave you the right description. Yeap, living in Lagos can do that to you. You can’t take these things for granted.
Someone once said that technology has solved that problem with the invention of a SatNav. However, what do you do when you’re looking for ‘Iwaya road’ and the SatNav has it listed as ‘Dabiri Street’? Or if the GPS says ‘After 12 miles, bear right’. I’m thinking… ‘right? When I’m coming from what direction?’.
You’d be amazed how much time we lose just trying to get from one place to the other and it’s no fun when you don’t know how to. Anyway, share some of your most interesting ‘Oh, my goodness I’m Lost!’ stories. Do you think you’re good at giving directions? What do you do when you are asked for directions and you don’t know. Do you just say ‘Sorry, I don’t know’ or do you pull something out of your hair? Do you suck with stuff like figuring out how to get from point A to point G?
Let’s have fun. Have a fabulous week ahead. If you’re in South England, please stay safe and only travel if necessary and don’t use your SATNAV.
Peace, love & cupcakes!
Photo Credit: madamenoire.com