What’s Your Orientation?

Don’t get excited. I’m not asking you about your sexual orientation. Not only is that none of my business, but I really couldn’t care less. You be you.

No, I’m talking about… what should I call it? Your compass orientation. How you visualize yourself in the world.

The reason I’m thinking about this is because my husband and I have a difference of opinion as to how a GPS should be set up. He likes his maps pointing ever northward, regardless of which direction he is going. I, on the other hand, greatly prefer to have my maps move with me as I move. I’m way too dyslexic to have to figure out if that turn is a left or a right based on where the sun is sitting in the sky. Show me, for heaven’s sake, which way to turn from where I’m facing right this minute. Otherwise I’m completely lost.

Recently I heard a story on NPR about how certain languages are compass oriented, and others, like English, are not. We describe things as being to our left or right, or in front of us or behind us. But it seems that some languages describe things as being to the North, South, East, or West. It doesn’t matter which way that person is facing when they have their discussion. They say, “You left your keys on the table to the north of you.” If plopped down in that culture, it would take me an awfully long time to find my keys. But I’m sure that if you’re born into it, that’s the norm.

The way I imagine it is that some people’s consciousness is inside their head, looking out of their eyes. That’s how I see the world. It’s faced in whatever direction I am faced in. But other people must have their consciousness floating slightly above themselves, and always oriented to the compass, as their body turns beneath them. I can’t relate to that at all. Not at all.

I wonder which is more common. What’s your orientation?

Vintage COmpass by hourglassthorne on DeviantArt

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

6 thoughts on “What’s Your Orientation?

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver

    Right now I’m facing N. But when young I didn’t well know directions and just went by landmarks.
    If he can use the GPS both ways equally well but you can’t, then it should be set so it works for you. If not…get another GPS, one for each of you.

  2. Lyn

    Didn’t realize you were dyslexic. Raised a dyslexic so am aware of those struggles. I’m not dyslexic but still can’t wrap my head around exactly where east meets west. Then there’s those precise directionals of up and down the road. If the road is flat, which way is up, which way is down? And how disorienting are those front and back door elevators? Get on one direction and off another. My orientation these days is instinct by way of my senses. No map, GPS or compass. Cross my fingers and go. Physically haven’t gotten lost but mentally am perpetually somewhere I shouldn’t be. My head is west of my navel, my feet are east and if I roll to my left you’re north. Not sure if that’s true north, magnetic north or astronomical true north but do you care? 🙂

    1. As long as you’re here, I’m happy, Lyn! And I’m a high functioning dyslexic. No trouble reading, but if I’m driving and you say, “turn left”, I have to ask, “Is that my way or your way?” And now that I rely too heavily on GPS, I still couldn’t find my way around this town that I’ve lived in for two years without it. If the satellites ever go down, I won’t be able to find my way home.

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