16 February 2009

Men are from three blocks north of main, women are from near the pink house in the cute neighborhood

There is an age-old trope that men never stop to ask for directions. It is my studied opinion that the reason for this is that men are afraid those directions will be given to them by a woman.

Case in point: I went to the grocery store today. Among the items on my list was sandwich rolls. Not just any rolls, but rolls which were located in what my wife had termed "an unusual place" in between the attended bakery and the self-service cake display, but not as far as the produce. Once in the store, I tried to follow my instructions. Having previously been berated for choosing the wrong; i.e. cheaper, brand of sandwich bread, I had no intention of bringing home the wrong rolls.

Yet, I could not find them. Not wanting to risk error, I called home, and described my location.

"Turn your back to the bakery. Now what do you see?"

"French bread."

"Sigh... On the other side of that."

"The deli."

"Go the other way - towards the produce."

The harder she tried to direct me, the more her directions sounded like a verbal pirate map: five paces from the old oak tree, face the sea, stand on one foot. Finally, I spotted an island display with bags of rolls. I could not help but laugh.

Her directions may or may not have led another person to these rolls, but for me, the directions could have been much simpler. Rather than beginning with the vaguely threatening notation of the "unusual location," followed by boundaries and shapes, it might have been simpler to say: "In the center of the bakery section, there is an island with a large sign that says 'Sandwich rolls.'"

Unusual location indeed. For a woman.

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