I have finally admitted to myself that I have lived in too many places in too short a time. I know this is a problem because as I'm learning new routes to and from various places (avoiding the freeway because of all the traffic), I try to remember landmarks and such...and I've started getting the Seattle area confused with all the other places I've lived. And let me note here that none of these places look a damn thing alike.
It goes something like this (in my head):
If I turn left at that stoplight, it'll take me by the Lucky...
No, wait, that's in Oakland (California).
Okay, if I turn right here, I'll end up on the freeway...
No...no, wait, that was in Sterling (Virginia).
I do think that the hardest part is the simple confusion of trying to learn a place and having to get rid of all those old maps. The ones that you created in your head, in order to get around those other places.
I've always done better with directions that list landmarks and I've realized this is now my downfall.
I knew where to turn to get to my job in DC when I saw my friend Stacey's apartment building.
I knew two ways to get home in North Carolina: the Food Lion way, and the WalMart way.
And as much as I grew up in California (and therefore shouldn't have to worry about erasing those old maps, because they're so completely ingrained), my last visit to Oakland has been coming to mind way too much because the city had changed a lot when I finally returned to it. I made a huge a effort to figure out where I was during my last visit, based on old landmarks (Lake Merritt, Arizmendi, Geo Kaye's, IKEA), while noting new ones (Blue Bottle Coffee, Portal, Bar Three Fifty-Five). And damn me all to hell for that - I'm even more confused now that I'm back in Seattle. It's even worse when it gets dark - which is one thing that Washington state and Virginia have in common - very little in the way of street lights. Why would is such a dark, rainy place almost devoid of street lamps to light our way?!
I still love it here.