Directions? Sure!

9 Feb

I typically take a walk daily in my neighborhood.  Whether it’s to get a newspaper, go for some food or just to burn off those donut calories, a walk is typically in my daily grind.  What’s interesting about my walk here in gorgeous downtown St. Petersburg Florida is about 70% of the time, I’ll get asked for directions.

“Where’s the Greyhound station?” a drunken man ask me as he stumbles down the sidewalk gulping on a Old Milwaukee.

“How do I get to The Pier?” inquires and old Jewish woman in her Chevy Trailblazer.

“Where’s 3rd Street?” a young woman ask me as she is driving on it.

“How you get to Sesame Street” a Cookie Monster states.

Listen – St. Petersburg is simple.  Everything runs east/west and north/south.  The east and west roads are avenues.  The north and south roads streets.  And from there, it starts at 1st street or 1st avenue and then continues up or down.  If you’re on Central Avenue, that’s the mid-sectional divider between everything.  Simple, right?

Above:  St Pete:  The ominous city of hard directions. 

Still, it’s not.

Not simple at all for the monsoon of visitors we have.  Add in all the Snow Birds and freshmen at the college, and this city becomes one big desperate cesspool of people in need of a Garmin.  And that Garmin is often me.

And, quite frankly, my communication is pretty good.  No, I don’t have a digital map on my chest, but  I’d say I’m well spoken.  (Although, I did have speech difficulties as a young child and there’s a hint of it that comes out here and there – but in general, I can talk.  Some say I have a mid-western accent but I don’t hear it.  You don’t hear it, right?)

And I CAN explain directions to the oblivious passer-byers.

“Okay, the city is one big grid.”  I’ll say.  “You’re on 5th Avenue and you want to get to 6th Avenue, all you do is head over one block.  It’s a one way street, so you’ll have to go out a couple of blocks and make a left on 4th Street South.”

“Whaaaat?  So, where do I turn?” sighs the driver.

ME:  “Like I said, it’s ONE BIG GRID.  So…okay, here…”

This is when I start to point.

“You see that big white building?  That’s the street you want to be on.”

“The white building?  There’s a street over there?” is the response.

“Yes.”

“And how do I get to the street?”

SMACK!  SMACK!  SMACK!  Is what I’d like to do to their head.

This was just a current example of the type of responses I’ll get from people seeking directions.  It amazes me how some are so oblivious.

Our one-way street systems like most cities is what adds to a lot of the confusion.  Like, it’s one way, and they don’t think that applies to them.  (No, really.  I don’t know how many times I see a car/truck heading the wrong way down a street with absolute no clue what they’re doing.)

Above:  Small image of map so you can’t see how difficult it is.

Downtown isn’t THAT big.  Sure, it’s got some girth, but it’s not a New York City or Branson Missouri (actually, I don’t even know if Branson is big or not).  But, I’m patient.  I know it’s difficult for some, but I seriously find myself repeating myself over and over on multiple occasions.  I don’t know why a lot of what I say doesn’t sink in.

My newest thing is using hand gestures AND my verbal communication with them.  It seems to intrigue a lot of askers (especially the more elderly ones) and I become more dynamic.  I kind of picture myself in a play – I have to be convincing.  Sometimes that communicates well – sometimes not.  So, that’s my Combo Pack.  I start to look and sound like the Anthony Robbins of directions.

I just hope my efforts pay off.  I’m about to start leaving my phone number so I can hear their follow-up stories.  I could only imagine…

“Yes, we found it okay.  It took us about five hours, but we found it.  It was tough figuring out those streets that say ‘One Way’ on them.  But, we didn’t bother with the street signs.  Saw a pretty bad accident that we might have caused, but yes, we found it okay.”

And to be fair, some DO get it right away.  In fact, I’ve given away quick directions at a red light turned green in a couple of seconds and they driver seems convinced I told him all the info he/she needed.  It does happen.  Rarely, but it does.

So, my walks are always interesting.  Who will be the next person to ask me where to go and how to get there?  I don’t know.  I’m just lucky I give out real directions, because I could make my walks real fun if I had them involved on the route I’m headed.  It would be fun to watch them go round-and-round as I keep walking past them.  It would be even more fun to smile and wave each time.

Above:  This cake is a good representation of the kind of directions I could give.

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4 Responses to “Directions? Sure!”

  1. gardenfreshtomatoes February 10, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    Ever have anyone ask you how to get to Disneyworld? 😉
    How can they call it ‘Tourist Season’ if they won’t let us shoot them?

    • w101njf February 10, 2012 at 5:02 am #

      I’m surprised I haven’t heard the Disney World one yet. And I’m not sure why we can’t shoot them (although, I don’t have a license yet).

  2. bearman February 10, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Just because the next street over may be 5th, doesn’t mean I don’t know if I should turn left or right to go to the higher street numbers…geez cranky pants. Don’t take walks haha

    • w101njf February 10, 2012 at 8:08 am #

      It’s left….you ALWAYS take left! (Whew!) Okay, time for my walk.

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