Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Being asked for Directions - twice in one week, do you know where the University is? where is Leigh Broadway?

Hello friends,

With the advent of Sat Nav and most people having smart phones with access to the internet, it gives even more meaning to my little game of 'Being Asked for Directions'. 

Here's how it works. I am strolling along, usually minding my own business, when someone asks me for directions, usually to somewhere I know really well. Although I admit, I have been guilty of getting involved with people when I see them looking confused at a map. But no, not this week. This week I am having a few changes of my own. There has been a new experience of volunteering in an English class. English for speakers of other languages. I was invited to the adult community college to volunteer to help with a group of people who have English as their second language. I printed off the instructions, there was a list of training courses set out which I need to go through, mainly from 10am - 12 noon. My head was full of the questions surrounding my availability to attend the training, working in retail, Christmas being the busiest time of year and somehow I read the email wrong. I was meant to be there at 9am until 11am!  Eeek.  I noticed at 8.30am. It is an hour walk away. I rushed out of the door and put my best foot forward. 

So, when I say I was minding my own business, this week, I really was. I was on a street I wouldn't normally be on, at a time when I wasn't meant to be there and a middle aged woman accompanied by a teenager approached me.

I smiled at her and her daughter, I have been asked for directions so many times, I recognise the signs, it also feels like Spirit knocking at the door of my life. Her teenager smiled back, I have discovered youngsters are far more likely to respond to positive facial expression from strangers than their older counterparts. 

'Do you know where the University is?' she asked.

 I consider myself a master of small talk, working in Sales for years I have learnt the art of never directly saying No to a customer, if they ask for an item we haven't got in stock, I am capable of engaging people in small talk and swerving them onto a purchase of something they didn't even know they needed. But when it comes to being approached, unexpectedly, when I am in the middle of something else, I am finding it really difficult to keep my own promise to myself that I will engage in conversation and try and find the link or the reason why a person wants to go to their destination of choice. It is a little game I am trying to play, and somehow I am still not managing it.

So, the University. Do I know where it is? Why, yes, of course, I go there every Friday. I point her in the right direction, I tell her that around the next corner is the massive building that is The University. 

We are standing in front of the student accommodation, which is affectionately known as the Lego building due to the brightly coloured blocks of bricks which does make it look as if it has been thrown together by a toddler.

 'Does it look like that?' she asks, pointing at the lego building.

'No, it doesn't look like the lego building' I tell her. 

The teenager laughs, this is clearly the first time she has heard the lego reference. I realise they are probably going to need a little more description to get them to the University, so I give explicit instructions, about turning left, walking past the pub on the right and walking through the car free zone that will lead to the University.

 As they walk away I remember to tell them to enjoy the University. I am guessing they forgot to say thanks,  but I understand. It is 9 am, everyone is busy, with minds full of life, places, people, places to go, people to see.  But, I enjoy being asked for directions, it reminds me I am the person who knows the way, so I carry on. My indecision as to whether I should bother going to the volunteering because I was going to be an hour late, thereby missing half the lesson, or to turn up late. I knew I was in the right place at the right time to help someone, so I carried on. I loved the volunteering and I will definitely be doing it again.

The next day I was walking back from the shops, in the cold, feeling dejected and a little miserable (I really dislike carrying shopping in the cold weather) when a car pulled up next to me. Smiling on the inside I shared a joke with the elderly couple who wanted to know where Leigh Broadway was, they were facing the wrong way entirely. I turned them round and pointed them in the right direction.

My day was lifted and the shopping felt a little lighter.

Lots of love and light to everyone who needs it.

Tamasin x

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