This is a story that started out with the Monarch Butterflies in my garden. I learned a bit about them and their remarkable journeys. It seemed quite natural then to discuss human journeys, directionally disadvantaged navigators, and why there are back-seat drivers.
A list of ‘Remarkable Feats of Navigation’ has to include the migration of the Monarch Butterfly.
In July 2012, a single Monarch butterfly visited my garden in Alberta, Canada. It spent the day sipping the nectar of the Painted Daisy.
Perhaps it then found some milkweed and laid eggs, or maybe my Monarch was one of the many monarch butterflies that flew all the way from Canada to a winter home in Mexico – a journey of several thousand miles. Once in Mexico, Monarchs breed, lay eggs and eventually die. Three or four more generations of Monarchs come and go before another Monarch reaches Canada the following summer.
This winter I headed south too. In late December Monarchs were visiting my flowers in Arizona. They were fairly numerous, and it is believed that they actually overwinter here.
Some humans are also remarkable navigators. Others – not so much. I call these people ‘directionally challenged’. Unlike a butterfly that can find the way from Canada to Mexico with only the sun and the stars to guide them, certain people are lost by the time they drive past the edge of their neighbourhood.
My spouse, The Car Guy, is moderately directionally challenged. The invention of GPS navigation has been a godsend for him. He has a friend, 3P, who is both directionally challenged AND has failed GPS 101. 3P can get lost when he ventures past the end of his street.
We discovered this on a recent road trip where 3P was the driver, and The Car Guy was the navigator. The ‘wives’ sat in the back seat of the vehicle. Neither wife realized that the spouse of the other would have difficulty finding the local mall, let alone executing a road trip that involved more than one left turn.
The driver’s vehicle had a GPS system. The Car Guy had a map and another GPS system. Both men, however, were unaware that the other had a navigational deficit. Both assumed the other knew the route and would, in fact, navigate when needed. Within half an hour, they had not only erred with the first few critical turns in the road, they were, in fact, heading back towards home.
That is why some people, usually wives, become ‘back-seat drivers’. They aren’t nags -they are navigators!
Do you have a ‘directionally challenged’ driver in your family?