The Berks-Mont News (

Small Beginnings: Have pity on us, the directionally challenged

By Lisa Schappell, Columnist

Monday, June 9, 2014

I do not wish to presume that everyone reading this column has been following along over time and is familiar with my historic navigation blunders of the past. For those of you who are just joining in, suffice it to say that I have had a few hair raising moments finding my way to and from some of the simplest destinations, including my own home. Having said that, I would like to prove the old adage that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

My lovely daughter is pretty fearless going to unfamiliar places. She prints out a map and cranks up the ipod and down the road she goes without a hint of trepidation. Maybe some trepidation would do her well however, as there are moments when she would benefit from being a bit more prepared before launching carefree into an adventure.

Like last week’s adventure to the Reading Hospital. Now there’s a location that I can get lost in without too much effort. In fact there have been numerous times when I have been there to visit someone and it has literally taken me a half hour to track down the elevator. And that was AFTER I got directions!

So off goes my daughter on her mission to complete her registration for the volunteer summer program. This process includes dropping off some paperwork that she had completed at location A, as well as getting a parking pass at location B and a photo ID at location C. Bear in mind that location A and B were relatively close together in comparison to location C. Just file that away for future reference.

Upon arriving at location A, my daughter happily turned in her paperwork without any difficulty. Receiving directions to her next destination she happily discovered that it was a mere hop, skip and jump away. Off she scurried to procure her parking pass at location B, only to find that office unstaffed and abandoned. Ever the optimist, she scampered up two floors and down a labyrinth of corridors to destination C, figuring that she could get her ID badge and return to get the parking pass on the way back to her car which was parked in the lot near A. Sounds logical to me.

Success followed her to C, where she got her ID badge without a problem and so she hiked back to location B with high hopes. Here is where it begins to fall apart. After returning to location B, she noticed a courtesy phone available to provide help. How convenient! The helpful attendant on the line informed my daughter that the office at location B was closed and in order to successfully get her parking pass she needed to head to location D, which was apparently in another zip code altogether. The nice lady began to give my daughter detailed instructions to navigate to location D, however as fate would have it, at this very moment my flustered and aggravated little girl was approached by a security guard who offered his own assistance, thus preventing her from hearing the detailed instructions being shared on the phone.

The guard suggested she simply hop on a shuttle bus out front which would take her lickety split to her destination. Yes! A perfect solution. Desperate for a quick resolution to this predicament, she hopped on the very first bus she could find and settled back in the seat relieved to be closing in on the elusive parking pass at long last. As the bus stopped and passengers began exiting, terror stuck her heart when she realized that she was actually at a bus stop at the VF Outlet and no longer on the Hospital Campus! She had gotten on the wrong shuttle bus completely! I feel your pain dear child, mama understands! The bus driver pitied her and drove her back to the bus stop, showed her the correct bus and after all that she did indeed manage to get her parking permit. Whew! Too stressed out to try the bus again, she instead walked the half mile back to her car parked securely near location A. Why do I imagine this to be only the first of many of these adventures?