Once after a month or two of living in London, Tina and I were walking back from an event that I can no longer remember and were asked by a man leaning out his car window whether we knew how to get to the Strand from the middle of Holborn by car. Quite confident in my newly acquired knowledge of the area, I started rattling off a series of turns, lights and lanes necessary to get him from where he was to where he wanted to be, with a series of emphatic hand gestures and directive tones, in my very Californian accent.
The instant I uttered the first syllable, he blinked quickly and ever so slightly furrowed his brow — taking in that I was an American, giving him directions in London. When I had finished, I flashed a smile and wished him good luck. He thanked us both and sped off, diligently heading in the direction I had instructed.
Just as he left I remembered that the turn I told him to take was a one-way street (fine by foot, rather inaccessible by a car going the opposite direction). I imagined his reaction exactly one minute after taking directions from me, cursing himself for being so silly as to actually take directions from a foreigner, ending up much further away from where he wanted to be than before he asked me for any help.
I always imagine him cursing under his breath: “Bloody American.”
How many times do I recall giving slightly obscure directions, let me count the ways. A bike is similar to foot traffic, I recall giving someone advice how to get somewhere in clocked minutes regarding my bike when they were driving an auto and other times when the person was afoot. The mind works in fantastic ways when regarding primarily personal experience. I always imagine the person saying “damn college students” when I remember that they were not riding a bike when they asked me how? and where? Oh well I’m sure they asked another bloke traveling by skateboard and found themselves worse off.
Stick to the Map I say, but that might just be the Male in me.
Comments are closed.