4/27/2006

My City Was Gone

Walking along this afternoon to the train station, I'm doing that thing where you're listening to music on headphones but you're trying not to walk too jauntily in time to it in case you look overtly ridiculous? I'm also doing the thing where you don't mouth the words to a song nobody else can hear. I never ever air play anything either. It's these fools that draw the most scorn from me.

So I'm minding my own business, one two stepping down the sidewalk, mouthing the words to Sing Me Spanish Techno and intermittently wailing on my air Jew's harp when I spot her coming from half a block away.

She's got a paper in her hand and looks like she wants directions. Nobody's biting. Including me. I'm not getting sucked into her tractor beam. I'm halfway past her and tasting victory when she makes it personal.

She reaches out and touches my arm. I cringe at being asked for directions as half the time I don't know where the hell I am, let alone where someone else wants to go and plus, I'm in the middle of a performance.

I have to now remove at least one headphone to find out what she wants. She asks gesturing at her handdrawn map, can you tell me where 1 University Avenue is? This is a cinch. She just walked past it and I'm about to do the same but in the other direction.

I gesture toward the building about 15 feet away from where we stand.

1 University Avenue? It's right there.

No, I don't think that's it.

Yes it is, it's that building right there.

No, I don't think so.

See the sign? The one that says 1 University Avenue?

No, I don't think it's that building.

You're on your own.

And she was.

15 comments:

Holly said...

People who walk around with me comment on how often I get asked for directions. I don't think I look particularly approachable; I think I just look like I know where I'm going. But the fact that I know where *I* am going doesn't mean I would know where the hell anyone else is going.

Dale said...

I could be standing a sign that says I HAVE NO TONGUE OR EARS and people would still stop, speak loudly and ask me things. What is up with that?

chelene said...

It's your mission to direct people, dale. Don't fight your destiny. It didn't work for Darth Vader and it certainly won't work for you.

Tanya Espanya said...

Never mind the directions. No matter what store or place I'm in, people assume I work there.

At an Old Navy, in St. Louis, a lady asks if she can use the phone. I'm wearing a coat, I don't work here, I say.

At the Rivoli, Queen Street, waiting for Eric Tunney's show to start. A girl asks me to check if she's on the list. Right, because again I'm wearing winter outerwear indoors because I'm some kind of cold-blooded lizard.

At a Gap (not that I shop there), do I carry these in a whatever size fatty he is, and I guess I would because I'm only standing there in my underwear waiting for the real employee to bring me something I can squeeze my muffin top into.

And now I'll admit something else: when I see those jerks with their maps and glazed drooly faces, I will GO TO THEM and OFFER directions, and I never lie or trick them, I'm always friendly and ambassadorly to them.

Did I tell you I rock?

I rock.

Dale said...

If it's my mission and my destiny Chelene, far be it for me to turn out to be Dale Vader and wreck everything. I already feel like I'm taking one for the team with every stupid question I get so....

I remember some of those Tanya! Hilarious. I'm calling my new band Go To Them And Offer. But should I use & instead of And?

justacoolcat said...

No I don't think she was

Dale said...

I think you're absolutely right jcc!

Saviour Onassis said...

And then Go To Them & Offer can name their first album: I HAVE NO TONGUE OR EARS... then appear as the local bar band on a "Seventh Heaven" reunion show and become overnight superstars! It's a perfect plan! Right?

Or...
Did I somehow get lost in the comments?

No one ever asks me for directions. =(

gizmorox said...

Wow, that's ballsy. Someone is nice enough to distract themselves from the New Pornographers to point you in the right direction and you argue with them? The nerve.

I never once got asked for directions in VT, where I grew up and where I know best, but every time I'm visiting a city somewhere far away (New York, LA, London even) people ask me for directions. I can usually answer them unless I'm in Montreal. I can never find anything there.

Since moving to Savannah, I find myself doing the same thing as Tanya - I walk up and offer. Because it hurts my head less to tell them that "Yes, 'The Lady and Sons' is right over there, than it does to watch them make complete fools of themselves.

justacoolcat said...

I couldn't resist.

Dale said...

Saviour - do you know the way to WTF? I get asked for directions everywhere although I fairly consistently don't know where the place, street, adventure is that they're looking for. Except in Rome. I somehow knew where everything was.

Gizmorox - I know!! She's just lucky Twin Cinema wasn't playing. I would have been gotten all yelly at her "They've shown this on both screens"

As for The Lady and Sons? I'm so scared right now of the photo at the top of their website. Is that bread that their demonic heads are looking out from? None for me thanks!

My best was being asked for directions in French by motoring tourists in the sleepy hamlet I grew up in. I had to dredge up every bastardized word I could barely remember from school and go through some elaborate hand waving to tell them where a hotel was. I then noticed the new hotel that had just been built across from approximately where I was standing.

Justacoolcat - Never surrender the resisting?

Reese said...

Oh, now you're a guy who can't say "nyet." LOL.

Dale said...

Hey Reese, I've changed my profile comment a few times now for my own amusement and now yours.

It sort of goes with this whole post. Rather than say nyet, feck you or any number of other things, I say yes? pardon me? It's the silent scream. They just don't hear it or they'd stay away.

Word verification: qiqtn - use it in a sentence please? You asked me for directions and then you got your head qiqtn.

gizmorox said...

re: The Lady, it does appear to be bread. I won't ask. She's a charming lady, and I hear good things about the restaurant but they don't take reservations and with the amount of tourists in this town you're looking at an hours long wait. I'm not that interested just because she's got a TV show, I'll go somewhere else, thanks.

Dale said...

Time waits for no man and I wait for no bread or restaurant Gizmorox. I'm just that important!