It’s best not to ask a people-pleaser for directions

Lost? Don't ask Jackie for directions
Lost? Don't ask Jackie for directions

The silver Mercedes crawled along on the other side of the road as I walked towards my son’s school.

I was panicked and flattered all at once. Wow, I thought to myself, he must be besotted by my womanly wiles.

I couldn’t help but smugly think to myself; I’ve still got it!

I ignored him, then became aware he was shouting something at me.

I surreptitiously checked that I hadn’t tucked my coat into my pants again, but all seemed well in the clothing department.

He continued to kerb crawl and shout but I couldn’t hear him over the oncoming traffic.

Obviously this poor man was finding me irresistible; I needed to set him straight that this really wasn’t appropriate behaviour or possibly direct him to Specsavers.

He stopped the car and yelled at me again. “I can’t hear you”, I yelled back. Scarily he got out of the car and I began to panic, it was all very well being admired from afar but actually coming face to face with your admirer was another matter.

He stood on the white line in the middle of the road and shouted: “Do you know where Bansmere Gardens is?” Oh! I thought slightly miffed that he was in fact immune to my charms and simply lost.

I was the only pedestrian on the road; he had no one else to ask. I really wanted to help him. “Where?” I asked again as the rain drove heavily down on us both.

He repeated the name and I was absolutely gutted to find I had never heard of it.

He stood expectantly waiting; I hated to disappoint him so I decided to guess where it was. “Er, just keep going straight ahead and I’m sure you’ll soon come to it,” I said.

He looked relieved that he was going in the right direction and I was delighted I had pleased him.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “Well, no actually I’m not,” I confessed, feeling a bit bad that I might be sending him off the beaten track.

At this point my son’s Mickey Mouse umbrella I had borrowed decided to collapse over my head.

I stood there with a crumpled brolly hiding my face with a large image of Mickey grinning at the motorist.

It was then Mr Mercedes became decidedly miffed, got back in his car and huffily sped off without even a thank you.

“Get lost!” I muttered under my breath, then smiled when I remembered he was! This was the third time in a week I’d been stopped and asked directions by motorists.

The first had been a district nurse. I gave her perfect directions, she thanked me profusely and I felt elated.

The second was a woman desperately seeking the veterinary surgery, her little dog was in the front seat and we had to mouth the word vet over his head so as not to upset him.

I explained where it was, she grinned with relief and called me a star which left me wearing a smug self-satisfied grin.

Up until Mr Mercedes stopped me I regarded myself as a human sat nav.

Upon reaching the school I told my friend about the incident and how I had actually attempted to guess directions for the man. “I don’t know why I did that!” I said.

“Oh, I’ve done that too, I once gave a man totally rubbish directions to a place I’d never heard of,” she admitted.

“Why?” I asked. “Because I wanted to be helpful!” she exclaimed.

“Yes, me too!” I confessed.

According to research woman are better at giving directions than men. In studies it was observed that women are much more likely to provide accurate directions (providing they actually know where it is!)

But why did my friend and I attempt guessing the way for our direction-askers?

Scientists say when we are asked directions the way we answer depends on our social and moral sense of what it means to be a good citizen, or at the very least a nice helpful person, so we sometimes attempt to help even when it’s obvious we haven’t a clue what we’re talking about.

I’m also the type of person if asked the time and I’m not wearing a watch, will attempt to estimate what hour it is rather than disappoint the person by not being able to help. In hindsight my people-pleasing efforts are probably rather annoying. So if you are in need of the time or directions, avoid me at all costs!