Sunday, January 9, 2011

Iff'n You Don't Want To Listen, Why Didja Bother Askin'?

I have quite a few pet peeves in my life, some that drive me absolutely nutty, and some that make me want to grab the person by the shirt collar and hoist them up until their toes are mere centimeters from touching the ground, and say, "What the hell is your major malfunction!?"

This falls under the category of the second one.

I have absolutely no problem giving people directions. Throughout the years and decades, I've worked in enough places and traveled to enough places in this tiny little home state of mine so that I can directions with a reasonable amount of confidence.

I even had, during one long work related stop (about 3 years), been able to give directions to people even before they ask for them, simply because of a particularly popular place that was in the general vicinity of where I worked.

But the thing that I absolutely detest, and in fact makes this particular peeve fall into the second category, is when someone asks me for directions, then blows me off one quarter to halfway through my answer.

Case in point: yesterday (1/8), I had a lady stop and ask me for directions to a local synagogue. Now apparently this lady decided not to follow the directions that were clearly printed on the 3x5 card that she showed me, because she wound up some five miles off course and landed in downtown Newington.

The first indication that she was probably gonna blow me off, was her saying, "So you don't know where it is?" while I was trying focus on where the address that she shown me was located. The second indication was that she started making faces while I was giving her directions, because quite frankly, there was no real easy way to get where she needed to go from where she currently was.

Note: to get where she wanted to go from where she was, she had to her second two traffic light (about 1/4 of a mile), make a left and drive about a half to three quarters of a mile to her second light, make a right and drive about two miles to her fifth light, make a left and drive about a third of a mile and take a right at the light, and the synagogue would be on the left less than a half mile from that light. Overall driving time, about fifteen minutes or so.

Finally, while I was about halfway through, a passenger in her vehicle yelled something to her, so she said, "Okay, thanks." and split the scene. And just for fun, she blew through the red light at the plaza she was sitting in at the time so that she could sort of follow my partial directions.

If you're in such a rush to get where you ain't, why bother stopping to ask directions if you ain't gonna listen?

Here's a piece of advice for anyone who gets lost and needs to ask for directions: pay attention to what the other person is saying, because chances are, they may be able to tell you about few unknown variables that might get you there a little faster and with less aggravation that you're already experiencing. And don't forget to thank them for their time.

Common courtesy. Is it really that hard to execute?


  1. We're going to have to change "common courtesy" to "uncommon courtesy" because it is lacking more and more...

  2. This use to be a rant of mine as well.

    As a military policeman I gave thousands of directions and this was how I handled it. I would say do you have a pen and paper to write down what I am going to say. If they said no and that they could remember it I would give the briefest of directions because I just knew that they wouldn’t remember the whole set of instruction and I didn’t feel like wasting my time.

    Today with GPS all this is going to change. Fewer headaches for the cop or helpful citizen.

  3. Some people can't be helped, and they're just wasting your time.

  4. She was really rude. I also don't like it when people can't show basic courtesy when approaching another person for help. Wishing you a terrific 2011!! It has been up and down here in my house, but gratefully I can jump back in the blogging seat again.

  5. I hate that, too. I had a church member argue with me about the meeting time for a meeting I chair every month that has always started at 7:30pm. He asked what time it starts (he wanted to visit) and I said 7:30. He replied, "Well two other women I asked said 7pm." I said he could come there at 7, but would be early. :) Was I certain? Yes, I was. Sigh.

  6. Talon: It's funny, but I very often hear the accusation that guv'ment workers (of which I am one) are extremely uncourteous.

    Problem is, if you start off the conversation ranting and raving, chances are you ain't gonna get squat.

    David: Sounded like you had a good battle plan.

    Usually when I decide to give brief directions, I'll give a couple of basic landmarks to go by and that's about it.

    Beyond that, I usually try my best to get someone to where they want to go the easiest way possible, because like it or not, I live in a town where you can't get there from here in a straight line.

    Most people that have asked me for directions have been gracious enough to pay attention and thank me for them.

    Charles: Shades of "Cool Hand Luke", eh?

    But I do agree with your premise. Why bother me if you don't want to listen to begin with? You're just wasting your time and my time as well.

    Kelly: That's all I really ask for. If you took the time to bother me for directions, then show my the basic courtesy of listening all the way through.

    Believe it or not, I do have the ability to speak clearly when the situation calls for it.

    Lynn: That's just too funny. I have people who do that at work. They'll keep asking me the same thing periodically and I keep giving them the same answer, and yet, they continue to not do it right.

  7. Giving directions use to be a real complaint of the folks I worked with. Most civillians as we called them figure they can be as rude to a cop, MP, or security guard as they want.

  8. David: I came across very few rude and/or clueless people while I worked in retail as it pertained to directions (and only directions, I might add). The incredibly rude didn't start crossing my path until I started doing my weekly walks around town.

    Personally, I found that with the few encounters I did have with outside law enforcement (inside law enforcement was a different animal all together, and by inside, I mean the c/o's I dealt with while I worked at D.o.C. and the YSO's I currently deal with at a juvenile facility) being courteous and treating the individual like I wanted to be treated went a long way in diffusing any potential problem I was having at the time.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

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So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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