Driving With No Sense of Direction: The Jessie Pingle Story

Can we all just give each other multiple praise hands emojis and be glad we live in a world with GPS? Because GPS finally cured what lots of young people (okay, just me) had back in the day: Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™

There were no cell phones or Google Maps or Waze when I was a 20-something lass accidentally driving through bad neighborhoods. You know what we had? A folded-up map that all dads made us put in the glovebox that a) was totally useless because maybe 2% of people can actually read a map b) even if I could read a map, I was terrified to unfold it because everyone knows it is physically impossible to refold a map.

Like this, but with paper and a lot more swearing.

Let me tell you just how bad life with Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ could get in those dark days before GPS.

It was St. Patrick’s Day sometime in the 90s. My boyfriend was a monster but he looked like a normal human so my stupidity is excused. We were going out with his friend and his friend’s sister (who was also a monster but masqueraded as a Hooter’s waitress). We went to a bar in Columbus that to this day I refer to as “that place where I threw up in a leprechaun hat.”

After everyone was completely wasted, we all piled in a car to go to the next bar and get completely wasted. (I’m sorry to tell you that drinking and driving features heavily in this story.) I looked around blearily and realized that Monster Boyfriend was not in the car. I tried to tell the monster sister to turn around but it was like the Quaalude scene in Wolf of Wall Street. In my head I was talking normally but in reality it was just slow-motion and hilarious nonsense.

Pretty spot-on, actually.

The friend was on the verge of passing out but through some sort of drunken telepathy I managed to convey the seriousness of the situation. He convinced his monster sister to take us to his car and we would go back to the bar and retrieve Monster Boyfriend.

Somehow, I ended up driving because apparently “passed out” is a higher level of drunk than “threw up in a leprechaun hat.”  I then got behind the wheel (bad idea) and drove around an unfamiliar city (even worse idea) to try and find the bar.

You guys. It was awful. My Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ was even further impaired from the mass amounts of alcohol coursing through my veins and I’ve never tried so hard to sober up in my entire life. I think I knew the name of the bar, and maybe remembered the street name. Meanwhile his friend was passed out in the backseat and it was basically like driving around with a dead body. It took hours… even though in hindsight I’m pretty sure the bar was only twenty minutes away. I had to stop at multiple gas stations to ask for directions. Because GPS had not been invented yet. Also because I was drunk and kept forgetting what they said but mostly the GPS thing.

By the time we found the bar, the place was deserted and the manager was ready to call the cops because (surprise, surprise), Monster Boyfriend did not take kindly to being deserted by his girlfriend and friends and had not been shy about expressing it.

Exactly this.

I’m just going to skip over the screaming fight that ensued and bring us to the part where we started the long drive home. I drove perfectly… right up to moment I was pulled over five minutes from home. I felt quite sober at this point but I’m guessing a sobriety test would have said differently.

“Her blood alcohol level is too high but her dance skills are off the charts.”


But no worries, people! Because this was 20 years ago and I was in my prime. Even after throwing up in a leprechaun hat I had enough va-va-voom left over to bat my eyes and solemnly assure the sweet, innocent highway patrolman that yes, I would be very careful driving, because “there are a lot of crazy people out tonight.”

Monster Boyfriend was grimly silent during this exchange but after the kindly officer tipped his hat and skipped off whistling into the night, his friend woke up long enough to mumble, “Way to go, Jessie,” before he passed out again.

It was the worst night of my life up to that point, and still ranks somewhere in the Top 10 twenty-some years later. And it could have all been avoided had GPS been invented…wait. Is that even true? I think the situation actually came about because we all drank too much. Even if GPS had been invented I was still a drunken idiot.

Time travel… GPS…. leprechaun hats… THIS MATH MAKES NO SENSE.

Wow, this was a real waste of time. Sorry, everyone. Just be grateful you’re born in a time when Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ has finally been eradicated. Also, don’t drink and drive. That’s why Uber was invented.

Uber: You probably won’t get assaulted!™

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