Saturday, February 26, 2011

The kindness of strangers

While I waited at a stoplight downtown, a car to my left honked. This was strange for two reasons: 1) nobody in Austin ever, ever honks1, even if you practically kill them2, and 2) there were no cars in front of said honker. She made the universal "please roll down your window" sign, and I complied.

"Can you tell me how to get to South Lamar?"

A fair request in any other city that has a South Lamar, but Austin was not built with ease of transportation in mind. Although I was a tad uncertain myself, it was my civic duty to help a damsel in distress, so I guessed.

"You have to turn right3 to get on Lamar southbound4. It should be two stoplights ahead. Lamar is an overpass, and we'll go under it."

Yeah, I know, that's a lot of detail to give someone if I'm just guessing. Call it an educated guess; after all, I have a college degree.

She thanked me for the directions, and for rolling down my window, and then the light turned green. She sped ahead, cut me off (it's okay, she signaled and I still had the parking brake on), and the winding roads of Austin proceeded to prove my educated guess entirely correct.

I drove away feeling very warm and fuzzy inside. I think I was happier about having helped a complete stranger find her destination5 , but I don't want to downplay the joy of guessing directions correctly.

MORAL: I'm always right.

1 Full disclosure: Stay out of my lane, guy on a cell phone, or I will honk until your grandmother removes you from her will.
2 Of course, when that drunk guy practically killed me, I didn't have time to honk because I was too busy trying to get control of my vehicle. And if he hadn't driven off, I would have honked. [nodding] Yeah, I would have.
3 Right = North. Always.
4 South = Left. Sometimes, not always. It's very complex stop asking me questions.
5 I hope she wasn't a contract killer.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are safe, contract killers kill you after they get directions.