The tourist asked the manager of the mercantile how to get to San Jose. The manager explained the directions to him in great detail—twice. The tourist and the young woman accompanying him seemed satisfied after the second time. They walked out of the store but were back in a few minutes. He requested the manager tell them again how to get to San Jose. They wanted to write down the directions.
Maybe there was a language barrier. The man spoke with a pronounced Spanish accent, so maybe he was unsure of what the manager told him. I grabbed a map so we could show as well as tell.
Take a left out of the parking lot, I said. Go to the stop sign, I told him, and make a right.
His fingers skimmed across the screen of his phone. Apparently he was taking notes.
At the second stop sign, make another right, I said.
Will there be a sign there? he asked me.
Yes, I said, a stop sign. Make another right.
So there will be only the stop sign I see? he asked me.
Yes, I told him, fighting the urge to beat my head on the counter. At the first stop sign you see, make a right. At the second stop sign you see, make another right. When you get to the town with the stoplight, your GPS should work.
It looks like I can keep going straight, he said, pointing at the map.
I’m not sure, I told him. I don’t know how to get to San Jose, I said. When you get to the town with the stoplight, your GPS should work, I repeated. Or you can buy this map, I continued, tapping on the map spread out in front of us.
What highway is this? he asked, pointing to a roadway shown on the map.
If he had looked closely, he could have found the number for himself, but I did it for him. I looked at the map closely, found the highway number, and read it to him. He continued to study his possible routes.
I think we can go straight right here, he said again, pointing, and I agreed, Yep, that’s what it looks like.
They didn’t want to buy the map, but they did thank us for our help.
When they left, the manager and I shook our heads at each other.
I don’t know how to get to San Jose, I told her. He wanted me to tell him exactly how to get there, but I don’t know!
Well, I do know, and I did tell him, but he wouldn’t listen to what I had to say, she complained.
I’ve noticed people—particularly city people—expect to find an interstate or a direct route to an interstate up on the mountain. I hate to be the one who has to break it to them, but it’s just not happening. It takes two curvy mountain roads to get to a state highway to get to another state highway to get to an interstate to get to San Jose. I could see how all that could discourage even Dionne Warwick.