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That’s Just Straight Up Stupid

, , , , | Right | March 4, 2022

The job that I work for is more mobile than anything, but sometimes we get to stop and rest at the store’s physical address, and customers like to meet us there. However, the address is a little obscure and some people have trouble finding it.

Caller: “What’s your address? I need to come pick up [small item].”

I give her the address and explain how to get there.

Me: “Do you know where [Street #1] is?”

Caller: “Yes, I do.”

Me: “Great! Our street is right off of it, between the 700s and 800s.”

Caller: “Okay, I’ll see you soon!”

I think that’s the end of it until she calls back.

Caller: “I’m on [Street #1] but I can’t find where to turn!”

Me: “It’s between the 700s and 800s.”

Caller: “Well, I’m at the 300s and I don’t see it anywhere!”

I tried to tell her to, you know, drive a little further, but she didn’t listen, turned down a random road onto yet another random road (how hard is it to just go straight?), called back in a panic, didn’t listen to instructions AGAIN, and never showed up.

Some people just can’t be helped.

It’s Sure No Walk In The Park, Part 2

, , , , , | Learning | February 26, 2022

A recent story brought this memory back.

When I was in high school, I signed up to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh award. This is a youth programme with various charitable and social elements, but it also involves outdoor activities, which for us involved hiking sections of the West Highland Way — a popular hiking trail in Scotland.

On the hike, we were separated into groups and given a map and compass to find our way to the campsite. In hindsight, the school was maybe a bit too cavalier in their assumption that we knew how to use those tools, which brings us to my story.

Groups were staggered by twenty-minute intervals, and mine was the second to set off on day one. However, Group 1 consisted of some of the brainiest kids in our year — the really, really smart guys. My group took a quick vote and decided to double-time the start of our hike to catch up with Group 1 to make sure we didn’t get lost.

We really, really should have remembered that none of the kids in Group 1 took Geography, but that only occurred to us later. Another important point to note is that this story took place before mobile phones became common, so only a few of us had them and the coverage was spotty at best out there.

We caught up with Group 1 and continued the hike with them; there was nothing in the rules against this. It was pretty exhausting as the trail went from a fairly well-defined path to a dirt trail that took us higher and higher up a small mountain until it just stopped, deep in a forest. We were clearly not where we were supposed to be, so we consulted our maps and had an emergency meeting.

Me: “I know this sucks, guys, but I’m pretty sure we took the right path a few miles back when we were supposed to go left. I think the best thing we can do is just take the hit, retrace our steps, and go back the way we came.”

Classmate: “No, look! If we cut through the forest, it’s a straight line to camp. We should be able to make it in a couple of hours.”

Me: “Look at the map! It says that there are a lot of really steep hills and valleys that way; plus, we don’t know what the terrain is like. I really think we’d be safer taking the hit on time and going back to the fork in the path.”

Classmate: *Very smugly* “No, I’m sure it’s safe. You’re being too cautious.”

Me: “No, I’m not. We’re not doing this.”

We split into our groups again, and mine followed my lead back down the trail. As we approached the fork, we saw our teacher’s car, and as soon as he saw us, he got out and stormed over.

Teacher: “Where the h*** have you guys been?! We’ve been searching for you for the last two hours! Have you seen Group 1?!”

Me: “Yeah, we met up with them and climbed the wrong path! It ended in the middle of a path, in a forest partway up that mountain. When we realised, our group decided to retrace our steps, but Group 1 wouldn’t come with us. They said they could figure it out.”

Teachers: “You weren’t even supposed to be up a mountain. You were meant to take the flat trail! Idiots! Right, all of you get in the car. I’ll drive you to the campsite and see if they’ve made it.”

We got to the campsite and got set up as the remaining groups started to arrive, but after a few more hours, there was still no sign of Group 1. The teacher phoned the nearest police station and was on the verge of organising a mountain rescue team to start a search when two of the kids from Group 1 suddenly staggered into the camp, muddy and torn without their packs.

Teacher: “Where have you been? What happened to you?! Where is the rest of your group?!”

Classmate: “We got stuck on the wrong side of a gorge trying to take a shortcut! The rest of the group didn’t think they could make it, so we left them there with our stuff and made it the rest of the way by ourselves to get help.”

Teacher: “Why wouldn’t you just go back the way you came?! Bah, never mind. Get in the car and we’ll go find them. I’d better call the police back first; they were about to scramble a search team for you idiots.”

A couple of hours later (when it was pitch black), the teacher drove in with all of Group 1 in their car. Fortunately, they were very embarrassed but unhurt. We were lectured firmly about how reckless we had all been and told we would be given a refresher in map reading in the morning before the second day of hiking.

That time, we all checked the map anytime we came to a fork, just to be safe.

It’s Sure No Walk In The Park

Something Happening In That County

, , , , | Right | February 14, 2022

A woman who has a county-related job is calling regarding her services. My position is essentially IT and I have to refer her to her local county office because we don’t handle the issue she is having. And, as a matter of verification, one of the company policies is that the caller needs to tell us their county and we can’t look it up for them.

Me: “Which county do you work out of?”

Caller: “[City].”

Me: “[City] is not a California county; it’s a city. Which county is that in?”

Caller: “California.”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s the state. I need to know which county in California you work out of so I can provide you with the right phone number.”

Caller: “[City].”

Me: “Ma’am, I have already stated that that is the city. This call center handles all of California, and I don’t know where [City] is. Is it in Monterey County, or Fresno, or Stanislaus county?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “Which county, then?”

Caller: “[City].”

Me: *Rapidly losing hope* “There are fifty-eight counties in California. I am literally looking at a map of California and [City] is not one of them. If you want to resolve this issue, you need to contact your county office. I need you to tell me which county it is.”

Caller: “It’s in California.”

I need to pause to come up with a different tactic.

Me: “Okay, ma’am. If I don’t know which county your city is in, then I can’t give you the phone number, and you can’t contact the right people to fix this issue. You need to tell me which county it’s in.”

Caller: It’s [City]. In [County].”

Me: “Thank you, now here’s the number.”

Two calls later:

Me: “You need to contact your county office. Which county do you work out of?”

Caller #2: “[Same City].”

Torn between wanting to laugh maniacally and bang my head on my desk at the irony, I opted to submit this story instead! Seriously, what are the odds?

We’re About To Come To A Crossroads. Really.

, , , , , | Related | February 8, 2022

While visiting family, I’m asked to go to the chippy and buy dinner. I’m really bad with directions and don’t know the area well, but luckily, the directions I’m given are simple. Leave the house, go left, and stay on the pavement. Do not cross any roads; the chippy will be on the left. On the way back, leave the chippy and turn right and the house will be on the right.

At the time, I’m a teenager and my dad has decided that I don’t need a phone, so if I get lost, I have no way to contact my family unless I can find someone who does have a phone and will let me borrow it.

Despite my nerves, this seems like a simple enough explanation that I won’t get lost, so off I go. There is one bit of the pavement that can barely be walked on, and it would be safer to cross the road than balance on the kerb, but I have been told not to cross the road, so I don’t.

I walk for a long time. Eventually, I see my grandad’s house again. I have walked a complete loop and have not seen the chippy at all. They don’t believe me, telling me how unobservant I am. That isn’t false, per se, but still unappreciated. I’m sent to look for the chippy again, and this time I keep my head turned to the left and make sure each building I pass is not the chippy.

When I return the second time, it’s been approaching forty minutes since I was first supposed to leave. No one is happy with me. My dad is yelling that it should not be this difficult for me to find the chippy. I’m sent out a third time, and this time, I check both left and right just in case. Still no chippy.

The fourth time, my dad comes with me. He’s fuming and planning on showing me exactly where the chippy is and why I’m so oblivious to have not noticed it beforehand. I’m planning to walk along the pavement as I have been to show him that there is no chippy.

After the pavement that’s basically just a kerb, there is a T-junction, so we have to go left. But as I turn to the left and follow the pavement as I was told to do, my dad walks up to the road and is about to cross it.

Dad: “Where are you going?”

Me: “I’m following the pavement.”

Dad: “No, the chippy’s this way.”

Me: “But you said not to cross any roads.”

Dad: “This isn’t a road.”

Me: “Yes, it is. That’s the road it connects to, and the cars turn into it there and then go this way.”

I point in the direction I was going to walk.

Dad: “Oh, come on. It’s so tiny it barely counts.”

I am not at all happy about this, but I follow him across this not-road and the next immediately after. The chippy is just a couple of doors to the left now.

Dad: “See, there it is. That wasn’t so hard now, was it?”

Me: “But we had to cross roads. You said there were no roads.”

Dad: “They don’t count as roads. You were supposed to cross them. How did you think you’d get to the chippy by turning left too early?”

I had to spend all of dinner listening to him tell everyone how “silly” I was for not knowing I was supposed to cross not-roads when I was told to not cross roads.

I Think Sending Blood Via Mail Is Illegal

, , , | Working | January 27, 2022

I donate blood regularly, so when I move to a very rural town I double-check the donation site to start booking locally. Sadly, even with the parameters at fifty miles away, no locations are nearby. I call my old donation center to let them know and to cancel future appointments. I still receive automated calls from them to remind me. Annoyed, I finally get ahold of a person.

Me: “Hi. I would like to cancel future donations, please. I’ve moved.”

Representative: “Are you sure? We can book you through your postcode online!”

Me: “You’re more than welcome to look. It’s [postcode].”

There’s a long pause.

Representative: “Okay, well, I’ll take you off our list. That’s new!”

I try to donate when the buses stop by, despite my location.