Lost Their Way, And All Sense Of Normalcy, Too

, , , , | Right | September 21, 2018

(It’s a very busy evening in our small hotel restaurant in a rather rural area. An older woman, who appears slightly confused, walks in and comes up to me.)

Me: “Good evening. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Well, I was visiting friends in [Town about 25km away], you see, and I was on my way home when I must have lost my way. I don’t know where I am. I must have taken a wrong turn, and now I don’t know how to get back. Could you help me get home?”

Me: *already dreading that this will take a while* “Okay, so, now you are in [Town]. Where did you want to go to?”

Customer: “I live in [Place I have never heard of] and I know how to get there from [Town her friends live in], but now that I am here, I don’t know where to go. Can you help me?”

(I am thinking, “Well, you clearly don’t know how to get home from there, because otherwise, you wouldn’t be here right now, would you?”)

Me: “I could give you directions to get back where you came from; it’s quite easy to get there, and you will find your way back. Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with your actual destination, so I can’t tell you how to get there.”

Customer: “Yes, please. Once I am back there, I know how to get home to [Place I have never heard of].”

(I give her the super simple directions; basically, go down the road that the restaurant is on in that direction, and then at the first junction go right, then take the first road on your left which already has signs for the place you want to return to, so just follow them. It’s really not that hard!. She still seems unsure, so I repeat the directions, adding more info like, “You pass by the train station that’s on the right,” and, “On the left and right, there will be loads of trees; just drive straight on through the forest,” thinking that maybe landmarks and such might be helpful for her. She still seems unsure, repeating her, “I know how to get home from [Town her friends live in],” spiel again. After I try rephrasing these very, very simple directions once more:)

Customer: “I am not sure. I am afraid I will get lost again. You know the way, so could you come with me in the car back to [Town her friends live in], and from there, I will be able to get home.”

Me: *dumbfounded* “No, I can’t just leave. I work here, we are pretty busy tonight, and I am in the middle of a shift.”

Customer: “Are you sure? You just have to come with me to [Town where her friends live]; from there on, I’ll manage to get home!”

Me: “Absolutely. I can’t leave. I can’t do more than give you directions, or I can let you use our phone to call a friend who can come here and drive in front of you, leading you back to the place you came from. Or, I can book you into one of our rooms so you can stay the night and drive back in daylight. That’s all I can offer you.”

Customer: “Oh. Well, then, I’ll try to find my way back. Hopefully I don’t get lost. It would have been great if you were able to ride with me. Thanks, anyway.”

(She walked out, leaving me still puzzled that she thought someone wearing an apron and a holster with a large purse around her hips, coming out of the kitchen, holding an empty tray, would have time to just leave a crowded restaurant because surely, I looked like someone with just too much free time on her hands! And anyway, which young woman doesn’t just jump at the opportunity to leave a well-lit place filled with people to get into the car of a total stranger and drive through a rather rural area at night? Surely, that has never been the beginning of something dreadful that ends with a horrible newspaper headline!)

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