Ask any reporter who’s ever engaged me in conversation behind the wheel, I get lost pretty easily. It’s a lifelong malady; I probably got turned around in the womb. Since then I’ve explored the derriere of nowhere more times than I care to admit, usually with a logo on the door and some disaster in the distance. See, I was born with no sense of direction. Years of missed exits and lurid u-turns have left me resilient though, and more than a little dizzy. Now, with a Lenslinger’s Zen that transcends mere spatial awareness, I travel on a higher plane, ferreting out hidden tempests on nothing more than momentum and my own goofy mug. You’d learn to compensate too, if you had the internal compass of Mr. Magoo.
Most men hate asking directions. I can suffer no such luxury. Instead, I’ve elevated the act of orientation inquiry to nearly that of an art form. Think those bickering couples on The Amazing Race can find their way around on the fly? You ain’t seen me chase down a school bus wreck. I can wring coordinates from the average minivan passenger in the time it takes a yellow light to turn red, I can decipher the swollen tongue of a moped pilot if I have to, and my acute astigmatism allows me to spot El Ocho through fifteen dingy windshields. In short, I ain’t too proud to panhandle. Yeah, the ole logo helps, but I got to think my winning personality comes somewhere into play when it comes to hijacking information at fifty miles per hour. Sure ain’t my looks.
It also helps if you like to drive. Most photogs do, even if the millions of miles that pass under our wheels have worn down our initial enthusiasm. I personally drive thirty minutes to work before I ever climb in Unit Four. From there I might travel anywhere within a dozen counties or so, from the swanky enclaves of the rich and entrenched to the boarded up barrios of the chased and displaced. Wherever I roam, there’s a chance I’ll get lost along the way. When I do, I’ll not hesitate to flag down a mailman, accost a trucker or quiz a gas station attendant. Unless they’re fans of my competitor, they’ll most likely point me in the right direction, provided I know that corner where the Moose Lodge used to be in front of that dried-up creekbed by the old doorsill factory…
Maybe I should buy that GPS system.