Bitch on the Blog

May 6, 2017

Sea Change

Have you ever got lost? I don’t mean in the metaphorical sense but its literal meaning.

Were you frightened when you did? How old were you?

I got lost twice in my life. Once age six or so. In Berlin which we had just moved to. My mother asked me to go to the bakers to get some fresh rolls. Not only was I honoured to be trusted with such a task I found a bakery. Bought the rolls. A bag full to bursting point. With a smell to match. Came out of the shop and stood in wonderment. There were all these high rise buildings caving in on me. Which sort of gave me something to look up to whilst trying to work out whether to turn right, left or walk straight ahead. After the first minute of confusion had worn off I was perfectly happy. I had visions of never finding my family again, being adopted by a kind fairy and living a life of bliss. Alas, it was not to be. Once I had realized I couldn’t ask anyone to give me directions since I didn’t even know the name of the street we lived on I just relied on my innate sense of direction. High rise or not. Never told my mother. “What took you so long?”, she said. Some things best kept to oneself.

The second was not that long after, and yes, we had moved again, when we visited the sea side. There we were, complete with beach hut and I went for a swim with one of those pesky blow up rings round my body. Don’t trust salt water. And don’t lose yourself in reverie. By the time I got back to the shore my parents, their friends and one sibling (tiny) had gone. I took it in my stride. Fairy tales are full of children, abandoned. Main thing in life is to keep your nerve. And let little surprise you. As I was trying to work out where to go from where I was my poor mother and one of our friends were running down the promenade shouting my name. “Sonny, Sonny”.

Apparently the current had taken me further and further and further sideways.

So? Did/do you ever get lost?




  1. I was seventeen in Stockholm, Sweden. I had had dinner with some other international students, and left early, assuring everyone I knew the way home to an apartment I was borrowing for the night. I knew the right subway line, but I think I maybe got on going the wrong direction? I went a few stops and got off when it looked wrong. I found myself in a subway station in Stockholm with several different train lines and with ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHICH TRAIN I NEEDED. I was panicked, and frozen. Completely lost in the age before cell phones, totally alone in a foreign land. Then, a miracle happened! A train came, and right before the doors shut, I saw all of my fellow international students on the train, screaming for me to get on quickly. I ran onto the train at the last second, and the other students (who were all at least two years older than I) scolded me terribly for being so stupid and trying to go home alone. I was so relieved, I didn’t care that everyone was mad at me.

    Comment by Shoshanah — May 7, 2017 @ 00:40 | Reply

    • Subways are the devil’s invention. Try London. Or Paris. Luckily I have no intention to visit Tokyo.

      When in doubt hail a taxi.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — May 7, 2017 @ 16:10 | Reply

  2. I got lost a lot when I was traveling in Europe the year I was there with Stanford in Germany. It led to a lot of adventures, the best one being when a few of us went early for a field trip in Berlin for the May Day parade in East Berlin.

    It was before the wall was built, and we went to a bookstore in East Berlin the first day. I was busy looking at a book when everyone else left and I had to find my way back alone. Mostly I did all right, but I was confused at one point about the subway, and a fellow from East Berlin helped me. He was going to a birthday party for his sister, and she and her family lived only a couple of blocks from where I was staying. So I went to the party and they phoned the place I was staying to tell them I was all right. The fellow walked me home after the party and I spent most of my free time during the stay being escorted around West and East Berlin by the family.

    I highly recommend getting lost at times.

    Comment by Cheerfulmonk — May 7, 2017 @ 04:15 | Reply

    • That is such a lovely story, Jean. Oh to be made welcome and looked after in a foreign country.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — May 7, 2017 @ 16:13 | Reply

  3. No, unfortunately for you, I have never got lost. Mind you, there were a number of occasions when I had been told explicitly to get lost which sometimes reluctantly I had to do, but more often than not, I did not. Other than those unavoidable events, I have never got lost.

    Comment by rummuser — May 7, 2017 @ 11:54 | Reply

    • “Get lost” sounds pretty cruel but is better than many other curses offered.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — May 7, 2017 @ 16:17 | Reply

  4. I’d never admit it — and I’d never seldom ask for directions. I’m usually pretty good about directions, but, these days, GPS is great for getting us where we want to go.

    GPS can get you in trouble, though. One time, in Wyoming, we were headed from Fort Fetterman Historic Site to Ayres Natural Bridge, opting to go by local roads (some narrow and unpaved), guided by GPS. I started to wonder when the route took us through a farm yard, as that sometimes happens, but it was getting narrower and… muddier. Fortunately, before we got very far down the track past the farmstead, the owner had chased us down and told us that it was private property, not a road, and if we kept going, we’d probably get stuck. Apparently, GPS had identified his driveway and farm tracks as roads, resulting in travelers getting “lost” on his property.

    The culprit feature of GPS is the option of taking the “shortest route” instead of the “quickest route.” The shortest route option can sometimes take you to interesting places.

    Comment by Mike — May 7, 2017 @ 12:14 | Reply

  5. Yep – back in 1969 I went to ProvboUtah to visit Lynn. The address was something like 350 North 250 West.and I ended up at 350S 250 West. Both addresses had a blue VW like Lynn drove but the first one had a very irate, large Mormon guy as it was 4 AM when I knocked on the door. Lynn thought it was pretty funny

    Comment by Chuck McConvey — May 8, 2017 @ 18:26 | Reply

    • oh that’s funny…I would’ve agreed with Lynn…

      Comment by cedar51 — May 11, 2017 @ 02:35 | Reply

  6. I’ve not got lost but my ex-navigator was terrible at map-reading and he would say “turn left” I’d turn left and he’d say “no, the other way…” we went up/down a few by ways often completely lost. I then fired him (before I left him) & worked out routes before we drove anywhere…

    Comment by cedar51 — May 11, 2017 @ 02:34 | Reply

  7. Luckily I never got lost before the ages of 14-15. If time is not a consideration, I have enjoyed getting lost.

    GPS came around the time I was 19-20 and all the getting lost was lost 🙂

    By the way, really clever of you to not tell your mom that you got lost. That too at the age of 6!

    Comment by KK — May 12, 2017 @ 03:23 | Reply

    • Hi, KK. So glad there isn’t a third K. Otherwise I’d worry what company I find myself in – inadvertently.

      Trouble with GPS or Sat Nav is that you you may lose a vital skill, namely map reading, keeping a sense of direction sharp.

      I can’t stand GPS/Sat Nav. The only time it was foisted upon me was when I flew to Germany and hired a car – lucky me, I was upgraded to a … (don’t ask). I couldn’t believe my luck. Till that voice kicked in. I don’t like being told what to do at the best of times but that was awful. Shut up. I managed to work out how to turn if off. Or rather my son did. He was only little at the time but could tell that his mother’s patience was beginning to be tested.

      Now of course it does come with any car but am pleased to say that the Apple of my Eye has not only inherited his mother’s sense of direction but makes it a point of pride to use the system as little as possible.

      Great turn of phrase of yours: “Getting lost was lost”.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — May 15, 2017 @ 05:31 | Reply

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