It was a Friday morning at the parking lot, and we weren’t too busy. I was working on a scarf when I wasn’t helping my coworker any time two or more cars formed a line at the entrance. A woman, middle-age and wearing her ponytail on the top of her head, asked me how to get to MegaBabylon.
This is a question I get asked a lot. I know the answer. I know the answer so well I can rattle it off rapidly, but I try to speak slowly, give step-by-step directions so people can actually understand what I’m telling them. I spoke slowly for this woman, told her exactly what to do, but I failed to see even a glimmer of understanding in her eyes.
What about Highway X? she asked me.
Highway X does not figure into getting to Mega Babylon from where we were standing. I told her she didn’t need to worry about Highway X.
Someone had told her she’d need to take Highway X, she insisted.
Now she was irritating me. She’d asked me for directions. I’d given them to her. She’d asked about Highway X, and I’d told her it wasn’t involved. Why was she insisting? If she didn’t trust me to give her directions, why’d she asked me in the first place?
I’ve noticed that when some people ask me a question, they seem to only want me to confirm what they already believe. If my answer doesn’t confirm what the questioner already believes, s/he will ask the question again, maybe reframing it, in hopes of getting the answer s/he thinks is correct. Such a line of questioning really annoys me because I feel as if the person asking the questions thinks I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m not infallible, but by now I usually know the answers to most of the questions I’m asked in the parking lot. If I don’t know an answer, I admit it.
The woman in front of me was convinced she needed to take Highway X and wanted me to confirm what she thought. I knew Highway X was not involved with her trip. We were at a standoff.
The woman looked over at my coworker and asked him for directions to MegaBabylon, as if he hadn’t just heard her entire exchange with me.
I get really pissed off when a person asks me a question, I give an accurate and complete answer, then the person turns to my coworker and asks him the same question. If the little lady can’t be trusted to give the correct answer, don’t ask the little lady the question in the first place!
Bless his heart, my coworker said to the woman, I think she [meaning me] just told you how to get there. But he also offered to show her on a map, which I realized I should have done instead of getting annoyed. I guess I just wanted her to trust me because I knew I was right.
During my entire interaction with the woman, a young Asian man had been standing nearby. He was waiting for his friends to arrive. (We found out later his friends were at the overflow parking area at the campground next door, waiting for him to arrive.) He’d latched on to my coworker and had been standing around for at least 15 minutes. When my coworker mentioned a map, the young Asian man pulled out his phone.
I don’t know if he already had a map pulled up or if he had some kind of map app that didn’t use the internet, but the whole time my coworker was unfolding his map, the young Asian man was trying to get the woman to look at his phone.
When the woman saw my coworker’s paper map (as opposed to the phone’s small screen, I suppose), she said, Oh! You have a big one!
Without missing a beat, my coworker said, Thank you. That’s what I’ve been told.
Maybe I was the only one who got the joke because I was the only one snickering. But then it got better.
I guess the young Asian man was still shoving his phone with the small map on it in the woman’s face, because I heard my coworker tell the man, Cut it out! I’ve got this! Let me do my job!
The young Asian man didn’t seem to take offense because he continued to hang around after my coworker finished giving the woman directions and assuring her Highway X wasn’t involved. (See! I told you! my inner brat wanted to exclaim while sticking out its tongue at her. Fortunately, my inner adult stayed in control of the situation.)
The woman wandered off, presumably to her vehicle, and the sitcom that is my life went to commercial break.
I swear, every word of this story is true.