...as in "sense of". Quite simply, I don't have one. I used to say that I'd "lost" my sense of direction, until I realised it would be no different from saying that I'd lost, say, my pet mongoose. I don't have one (a sense of direction or a mongoose).
Whle most people know just where they are going, I often have no idea, and have frequently had recourse to the sun in order to assess my direction (overcast skies are bad news for people like me). I can't read maps, either. Rather like this character in one of my novels*:
'Towards the end of our journey, there was much discussion and consulting of maps, in the course of which Mum and the nice man from the chemist (not quite so nice, it transpired, when it came to the crunch) nearly came to blows.
“You said you’d do the navigating. I’m just the driver,” he pointed out, as they pulled into a layby to take stock.
“It was fine while we were going North. North is easy,” Mum said.
“What do you mean, North is easy?”
“You don’t have to turn the map round, with North. South is much more difficult. Everything’s upside down.”
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous! Nothing’s upside down. It’s perfectly straightforward. You’re just being a typical woman."'
And maybe it is (largely) a woman thing. Whatever. I can't do it.
The satnav was made for people like me. Nowadays, I sally forth, safe in the belief that at least one of us (the satnav) knows where we are going. Without it, I am lost, in every possible sense. I'm sure it's partly a self-fulfilling thing - you become what you think you are - but it's very alarming.
This week, we had to go somwhere new, and have recently acquired a car with its own satnav. This is complicated, so we brought the old one as well. One satnav is a woman; the other, a man. At one stage in our journey, the man was shouting "TURN AROUND WHEN POSSIBLE!", while the woman was telling us to "FOLLOW THE ROAD FOR SIX MILES!".
But between them, they got us there in the end. Phew. Needless to say, the map lay on the back seat undisturbed.
*The Birds, the Bees and Other Secrets