As I was walking to work just now, some fellas beckoned me from their car window. “Whalley Ave.?” they shouted, barely slowing long enough for me to respond. But unbeknownst to them, this is a difficult question at the best of times. Whalley is one of those roads that changes names as it winds through town and merges with other roads–and at one point it becomes a one way.
At this hour, it’s too early for me to even ponder such complexities. Still half-asleep, I sort of confusedly turned a one-eighty and pointed vaguely north.
UPDATE: My directions were not only bad, they were wrong. Yes, I did point in the generally correct direction, but I failed to give any sense of the complexity of the situation. Moreover, because Whalley would be labeled Elm at that point and is also, I think, only one way at that point (the wrong way), those fellas were probably worse off for having talked to me at all.
I feel bad about this and wish I could step back and give them real directions, wish my brain hadn’t momentarily gone to lunch. Too much pressure for so early in the morning! But I can’t. Another lost opportunity for kindness. If I were a better human, perhaps I’d spend more time studying maps of New Haven, a city I’ve never truly learned well, so that I’d be prepared through mere rote memorization for such a quiz, should it ever come up again. But I’m not that guy, the moment will likely never appear again. So it is said and so it shall be.