A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I'm having computer problems so I can't get the picture up right now, so I'll have to wait and add it later.

Today's book, "Sonita's new book is about losing oneself in the pleasures of an experience, about wandering and being lost, about the uses of the unknown. She is interested in the stories we use to navigate our way through the world, and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves. Written as a series of autobiographical essays, her books draws on emblematic moments and relationships in her own life to explore issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place."

I don't like to brag dear readers but getting lost is a subject I know an awful lot about. In fact, I'm practically an expert. So I figured that I would be able to really relate to today's book. But it turned out to be one of those books where the author spends page after page writing in circles and never seems to really make a point. There were parts of the book that weren't awful, and other parts that read like "Blah, blah, blah" - and so I spent most of the book thinking could we just get the show on the road already.

So I guess reading this book has answered for me that age old question of: Is it a good idea to buy a book that you found in a bargain bin at the dollar store? Clearly the answer is no. But I'm sure you understand dear readers that I had to at least give it a shot, I mean you climb mountains because they're there right?

Forcing myself to finish a book I'm not enjoying makes me feel a little bit like I'm still in school, except in this case I'm the mean teacher who is making me read a boring book when I'd rather be watching The Golden Girls (and by the way C, you are the official winner of the "Guess what Angie's talking about when she says 'Take a trip to Miami' " contest). I feel little like Sarah, a child I used to take care of in my Mary Poppins days, who would make up assignments for herself. She would walk into the living room looking frantic and stressed - I would ask her what was wrong and she would say, "I have to color all of the pages in this coloring book by Thursday." And then I would ask why and she would respond, "Because I just have to. It has to get done. And I have to finish making those two bracelets by Friday and I have to get that potholder made by next week." Ahh, the "make your own potholder" kit - that brings back memories. I used to have one of those when I was a child, and I would make the ugliest fluorescent potholders for my Mom - they were hideous but it was the 80s and fluorescent was very in.

The author gets a little self righteous in places. For instance, when she's complaining about how cell phones and GPS have ruined the mystery of being lost - she equates it to ordering up our own rescue the way we would order a pizza. To that I say Hey get off your high horse Ms. Author, some of us have cell phones and GPS and still manage to regularly experience the mystery of being lost - and last time I checked I've never ordered a pizza by accidentally taking two wrong turns in the white pages, followed by a long and disastrous trip through the yellow pages in which I just keep circling and circling the pages with the pizza place's phone number without ever actually finding it before giving up and decided to just have chicken. Clearly that woman has never been in a car with me. Some of us do embrace the mystery of getting lost - and sometimes I even find it relaxing - but I stop embracing it at the point when it looks like I'm going to have to give up on finding my way home and start life anew on the side of the highway. That's the point when I start to get cranky and think that everything bad in life has happened to me First I get stuck with knees that look like baked potatoes and now this.

And now I have to go finish organizing my to-read stack because it has to be finished by tomorrow. It just has to.