• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of and finding treatments for complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To register, simply click the Register button at the top right.

“Foot Lost”

Sounds of a galloping horse? Nope. It’s a woman in heels, on a cobblestone street. That’s when the pressure builds—when paranoia sets in because you don’t know where you are, and you’re being followed by the stark German lady wearing her Deichmann (German shoe store) best, a situation that’s really no consolation for the birds, either.

I’d found myself being foot lost whenever I embarked on new territory. It was irrelevant that I’d printed out directions online, or that I was in somewhat navigational friendly territory and armed with a sturdy map and a confident demeanor. It simply did not matter. I was overmatched by my inferior function, my inability to put one foot in front of the other and walk in the right direction, an affliction that had seemingly only surfaced when I moved to Europe. Nevertheless, the end result was always the same: lost, confused, frustrated, and ultimately late to wherever it is I was going.

If memory served me correctly, my most colorful moment of being adrift befell on a cool, windy day in Frankfurt. It was a much-dreaded, guilt-laden commitment, but because I took the pledge, I was ready to roll with the punches. The appointment time, location, and details were all in order. I just needed to show up and let the onslaught of awkwardness begin. It all sounded pretty straightforward:

“I can pick you up in my car. You call me when you arrive,” said the woman in a Spanish accent.

“All right, I’ll do that,” I said.

I started out the door and within minutes began cursing the wind as it whipped off my face. The directions were folded neatly in the right pocket of my black faux suede coat, as the left pocket housed my clenched fist. “Why don’t I just call her back and cancel,” I thought. But despite any and all reservations I had, I continued on.

The commute on the train was a slam dunk, but everything after that was, well—sloppy footwork. I exited at the wrong train stop and walked about four multiples of three rather than for the three-minute duration as explained in the directions. I did some mini-sightseeing and apparently convinced myself that I was headed the right way.

Alas, the nauseating smell of a nearby fast food joint, not my keen awareness, ended up being the catalyst for directional change; it was the slap in the face I needed to wake me up from my walking daydream. So back to the train station I went, and on board the train in the direction that I hoped would be the right one. I would just need to pay enough attention to actually hear (and see) the name of the stop.

Indeed, the right stop would be located with ease, but that was the only simple part. I walked for a solid ten minutes in a direction that my senses told me couldn’t possibly be wrong. But as time passed, I somehow felt like I’d be walking to Poland if I continued on my chosen route.

It was time for something different, so I retreated back toward the direction of the train station, the wind now fierce and defiant and seeming only to perpetuate my increased frustration and question the very nature of my foot speed. I decided to pick it up a bit and ultimately made the transition to the half-run walk, which always makes one look like a total loser.

“Entschuldigung, wo ist Südbahnof?” I asked a passing stranger. After some pointing and hearing words that made sense, I felt I’d be able to make it to my destination without any hiccups. But I was wrong. Maybe I hit the celebration button too soon, because about fifteen more minutes passed and I was still walking around like a devoted junkie. I hadn’t hit any of my marks and saw nothing remotely similar to what my directions indicated. And that’s when paranoia pinched me on the ass—hard. I turned into a walking lunatic, increasingly annoyed by pedestrians whose shoes pounded the sidewalk and made too much noise. Glancing down at my watch nearly every three seconds, I was uttering curses that slowly started to outnumber my breathing.

“I’m running a little late … uh, to be honest, I’m sort of lost,” I said to the woman on the phone.

“This is not a problem,” she said. “Tell me where you are and I pick you up.”


And that’s when the real work began. Still, what remained was the following thought: who keeps getting lost like this?


Lost is a condition I find particularly troubling. Most humans probably do.

But for me, often working alone in remote areas, lost was simply a situation that cannot happen. Lost is unacceptable, lost is - possible death.

Lost on a Christmas Eve, driving...with my dog in a big city...four blocks from my in-laws apartment, I veered down a street that lead away from the direction I needed to head and became lost.

The dog hated being lost. The dog was sobbing in the back seat of the car. The dog knew even better than I, how terrifying lost is.

(can I describe no cell phones and I didn't really know the phone number of my inlays OR Their actual address.)

( I drove four blocks to get coffee nobody had coffee and my husband didnt' come wiht me and I better go yell at him right now about that forty years later..)

That lost lasted about an hour. Until finally some nice man at a gas station who could speak English (its Xmas eve) knew where the El Camino (main drag) actually was: and I got back.
“( I drove four blocks to get coffee nobody had coffee and my husband didnt' come wiht me and I better go yell at him right now about that forty years later..)”

I laughed out loud at this, Rufous. I was the king of lost at one point,
“( I drove four blocks to get coffee nobody had coffee and my husband didnt' come wiht me and I better go yell at him right now about that forty years later..)”

Around here those are called brown stamps. (Like green stamps..your probably are not old enough to remember)...you accumulate brown stamps, so you can retrieve them at a later date..I'm really good at collecting them!

We weren't lost "per se"...wandering around in a domesticated red wood grove near Gueneyville. Four adults and a leashed dog.

The park even had signage and trail makers. But when you've got mild ME (ah. to only be mild, what would I give?)....and nobody is quite sure where the parking lot went and instead of getting back we are even further away: this caused a Lost Panic Attack...too! And the sun got low....and...

How are you doing, @Cloudyskies ??...

do you have more German adventures up your sleeve, or are you working on new adventures?!

(We wish, right!)

New adventures are possible. New insights are always possible!


Blog entry information

Read time
3 min read
Last update

More entries in User Blogs

More entries from Cloudyskies