Make a right at the "happy people"

There are very few romance writers who become authors the moment they step out of school. We have all had or still have the classic "day job."  My "day job" required extensive travel throughout the country.  At first that might sound glamorous...but alas, it was not. What I was able to obtain from all those years of trekking was the knack for following directions.

The GPS and any sort of navigation assistant are all relatively new aids. Before that, for the most part, I relied on verbal directions provided by the company I was going to visit.  After all, who better to guide you than the people you are going to see?  My travels often took me to every industrial park in the nation, so directions were often prefaced with, "cross the railroad tracks, and-".   To this day, every time I cross over a railroad track I expect to turn into an industrial park immediately afterwards.

With verbal directions comes the inevitable "lost in translation" syndrome. I have ended up in some rather unsavory locations due to miscommunication. Yet, on the other hand, some people go that extra step to give you a complete narrative on how to locate their building.  For example, I was traveling to Calgary airport and the person told me that once I reached the end of the airport road I should make a right at the "happy people." Naturally, I had no idea what that meant, but I had my eyes glued for happy people.

At the end of the road were three giant water towers and on them were painted a host of people from all walks of life, smiling and waving.  Happy people.  I grinned and made my right turn.

Does anyone still rely on verbal directions, and if so, do you have any tales to share?


  1. "I have ended up in some rather unsavory locations due to miscommunication."
    OMG! My own darling daughters both live in Houston and they frequently move because... they can. So, here I am following their vague directions or their 'cutthroat shortcuts'. OK, look, this way is shorter, but don't stop until you reach so and so street or pass so and so intersection. They certainly have more confidence in me and my vehicle than I do! Houston is a huge town with many, many, many areas of 'concern'. LOL. Loved your post, Miss M.

  2. Oh, such a fun post! Yes, I think we've all had those kinds of experiences. During one out of town craft show, my girlfriend and I ended up in the worst part of the city ordering chinese food. Little did we know that we were in the middle of rival gangs' territory!! We were so tired at the end of the day, we must have had that "don't mess with us" look.

  3. I love the sound of the 'happy people'!
    My hubby is a star at giving people directions. They go something like: "Take a left at the Red Lion, straight past The George, then the Queen Victoria, and turn right about five hundred yards past the Smith's Arms...". Contrary to what people might think, we don't have *that* many pubs in the UK. It's just that he knows every one. :)

  4. @Brendan - Yes, I've been lost in Houston. The directions said take I-10 South, but I looked on the map and the highway was going in a straight line from east to west!

    @Debra - I'm reminded of the scene from the original "Vacation" where Chevy Chase gets lost in south-side Chicago. :)

    @Shirley - Hmmm, me thinks it would take me awhile to get to your house. Too many distractions along the way! LOL

  5. Omw! Love this. I'm constantly on the lookout for clear ways to give directions. Mine is the easiest house to find, yet, I invariably get guests lost as they come this way. Heck, I'm an author and Have NO way with verbal direction apparently. so sad.

    Great title! Hugs

  6. I'm so directionally challenges I could get lost in an elevator! Driving to unknown destinations before GPS days often had me in tears.

  7. Elevators are tricky, Wynter! My father has giant books of maps, and he'll pull them out to tell me the "proper" directions. :)

    Bonnie, for me you'd need to shoot up a flare. Then maybe I would find it!

  8. I used to give people horrible directions because I kept getting "right" and "left" confused. Then somebody told me if I hold up my left hand and stick the thumb out, it makes an "L". AHA! I can't tell you how many times I still hold my hand up while I'm driving to make sure I turn the right way. LOLOLOL


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