One of the best things about tourist season is being asked for directions 10,000 billion times each and every day. And the best of the best is being asked directions to tourist landmarks that do not, in fact, exist. Moreover, the best of the best of the best is when the tourist blames me personally for the fact they are seeking a landmark which does not, in fact, exist.
Saturday evening, on my way to dinner, I was asked for directions twice within a two block stroll. First I was asked which way to the Mall, which was easy, “Turn around, go exactly the opposite direction from which you are currently travelling, and you’ll be there in 10.”
The second was a little trickier. A lovely English-impaired couple waved me over to their car, and asked for directions to the Lincoln Museum. The WHAT? Exactly.
Were they looking for the Lincoln Memorial? No, they’d already been there.
Ford’s Theatre? No.
I knew they weren’t really going to the Lincoln Museum…because that’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And, having spent a lovely night in the Fort Wayne International Airport (so-called because there’s one flight a week to Canada), I know that’s not a city where anyone would voluntarily go. The highlights of my Fort Wayne excursion included sharing a plate of nachos with a toothless man named Shiloh, and hearing all about the local murder scene from a cabbie.
At this point they became belligerent and cranky, because, really, it’s all my fault that the landmark they requested is (according to Google Maps) 558 miles and 9.5 hours of drive time from their current location. Plus, the trip includes three toll roads and a long slog across Pennsylvania.
Eventually, after feeling my evening, my sanity, and my soul slipping away, I sent them back to the Lincoln Memorial with the instruction, “It’s a big marble dude in a chair, and you’ll hear a bunch of tourists yelling, ‘Jenn-AY!’ and ‘FORR-est!’ to each other.” Then I ran away.
Is it September yet?