I am a little confused I have something on my face, looking in the mirror I can’t tell if there are veins really close to the skin or if I have spots that look like little church markers. It is confusing because I seem to get stopped by a lot of people to ask for directions.
I do wonder if my face looks like a map because there is nothing else about my face that suggest I am a human sat-nav. My demeanour on the streets is the same as on a train, avoid eye contact and march purposefully towards my destination. Despite this public hostility I am still flagged down to provide assistance to lost travellers.
Last week while using my phone I provided the location of the large shopping centre in Birmingham. If I walk too close to a kerb a car will crawl up beside me and I have to tell them where to go. Even when abroad I am still treated like Google Maps.
I’ve been asked for the way to Union Station in Washington, luckily as a tourist (and the easy road layout) I was able to send them up to The Capitol and turn left. It was also handy to have a mini-guide book (as data was too expensive to use on a smartphone) that I could unfold and show them the exact road.
Because here is a problem, I am terrible with road names. I don’t even know the name of the road that runs parallel to my home and I always have to check the street where my office is. When I am asked for directions I can’t say take This Road and That Road and I turn into a crazy guy.
The route will be littered with “walk down this hill and go left at the service station and head towards the two towers, you’ll come to an island with a pagoda, go under that and up the road that is a steep climb, you want to keep the big shiny blue building on your left, when you come to a bridge go over that and you’ll be there”.
Those are the directions I gave the family in Birmingham. I navigate by landmarks so I have to give directions in the same way. When I use Google Maps I switch to street view so I know what I need to look out for.
I’m terrible at knowing where the road I’m being asked for is (unless it’s a landmark) and the directions I give will sound like a treasure map. Perhaps because I look like I am trying to get somewhere in a hurry I appear to know where I am going.
Or maybe despite all my bravado and grumpiness it is because I really do look like a person who when approached won’t tell them where to go?
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