I have no internal GPS. ‘Please can you help me, I’m lost’ was one of the first french phrases I learned when I moved over here. I once managed to lose my friends at a service station for 20 minutes because I went in one door and out again through another. I have to write down the number of a parking space so I can find my car again. I have a Sat Nav in my car and still get lost; the police pulled me over the other day as, apparently, driving down a tram route is not actually legal. So why oh why do people keep asking me for directions when I’m out walking???
Yesterday I’d taken a quick breather ostensibly to answer a Whatsapp message, but actually to have a quick breather after having run up a particularly long flight of steps, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Bearing in mind that I was wearing headphones and bopping around a bit to the strains of ‘It’s My Life’, you can understand that it came as something of a shock. I literally jumped back a pace and said something like “whhtttffffyyyddding!” which in turn scared the crap out of the guy who had shoulder tapped me. Anyhoo, when we’d both recovered he said ‘Um excusez moi……….’ and then waved a piece of paper under my nose and pointed to a blue dot. He had a small child with him and he looked harassed, confused and, well, lost……
My first thought was ‘oh shit not again’ but I felt sorry for the guy and so looked at what turned out to be a little map. I asked him, in French, what it was he was looking for and he mumbled something and then pointed once again to the blue dot. It suddenly occurred to me that he wasn’t French; when I replied to him in English I could just see the waves of relief rolling over his face and a look of hope dawning in his eyes. Yep, we could converse in the same language and, had he not been asking for directions, it could have been a really lovely chat.
At this point I have 2 confessions to make –
1. I actually do really like helping people
2. I don’t like admitting that I don’t know stuff……..
when someone is asking for directions, this is a really, really bad combination.
I tried to look knowledgeable and turned my attention to his map. He took it back for a second so he could turn it the right way up but still that didn’t put me off, I was determined to point him in the right direction – poor bastard! We walked along for a couple of minutes and chatted about the weather as the English are wont to do when they don’t really know each other while I tried to figure out where we were in relation to the station which was the only thing I really recognised on the map. Just then, miracle of miracles!!! I saw a sign post for the very place he was looking for – thank f**k for that! I was saved from having to shame facedly admit that I had absolutely no idea where he should be going. Actually, if I’m completely honest……..I can’t believe I’m saying this……..I probably would have confidently sent him in what I thought was the right direction and then hope that I didn’t meet him again on the way back.
So, in the end no harm done :O) He was happy and I went off for my walk along the coast path in the sunshine feeling virtuous after having my good deed for the day and, you’ll never guess what, on the way back a woman asked me for directions to the beach, in French……
Obviously I had to help her out. I’ve got no idea where she is now but I really hope she didn’t have to walk too far out of her way before she found someone who actually has the vaguest clue where they’re going……..
So, tell me, are you ever determined to help someone even when you know damn well that you are absolutely the worst person to ask???? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you
Have a great day