Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Navigator

S told me last night that she had got lost near Victoria while on her way to meet me the other day. Apparently they stopped the tube before Victoria station and everyone got off. Now this is a very intelligent woman we're talking about here but her strategy for finding her way to the station was not:

  • get a taxi
  • get a bus
  • ask someone
  • look at a map

It was... look for someone with a suitcase, assume they're going to the station and follow them. She identified an Asian man as a likely candidate and, like a trainee spy, followed him through the streets of West London. Poor bloke must have felt her presence because he kept crossing the road and looking in shop windows.

Having said all that, I suffer from that supposedly male thing where I won't ask for directions or turn back. My reason for not asking for directions is rooted in bad experiences mind you. When I was 17 I drove to Harlow to meet someone (in my Mum's Singer Chamois- classy rear engined wheeled sewing machine). I asked a couple of blokes for directions and, before I knew it, they were in the car telling me they'd take me there. of course, by the time I reached Roydon I was beginning to realise that I was taxiing them for free. They got out, thanked me, laughed and I was more lost than ever.

Once in France I used my best french to ask if there was a bank nearby: 'Est ce qu'il ya une banque pres d'ici madame?'

'Banque?' ces't quoi banque?' she asked, total confusion clouding her rustic features.
'Banque, BANQUE, BANque, banQUE...'

As my frustration grew a growd gathered around my van, all the people were looking at each other with the same quizzical expression. no-one had any idea what the odd English bloke was after until suddenly a bloke right at the back of this crowd (in my mind's eye he wore beret and striped shirt but that must be a trick of the brain) said 'Ah BANQUE.' Suddenly everyone understood: 'Banque, oui banque'

Apparently my pronunciation was so far off they couldn't make the connection. There wasn't one, by the way.

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