I don't know what it is about me that screams well-informed native, but on my routine jaunt around town, two people stopped me to ask for directions. Little do they know that my working knowledge of how our area is laid out, the bus routes, and the direction of the nearest highway is pretty much nil.
I proved this by, after giving these helpless strangers muttered and vague directions, making poor travel decisions. There's a large mall some ways away from my house, but I was already out at a coffee house and decided that it was much too early to head in. So I decided to see if I could find out a good way to get to the mall from the coffee shop. I don't know; back roads may work, but only when there's not a river between you and your objective. And I seem to have a knack for picking the side of the road with the most unkempt sidewalk. If there is a sidewalk.
The thing is, I don't have a bad sense of direction. I kept a pretty good mental map of where I was in relation to the mall - even when I was passing it and walking far beyond it on the wrong side of the river. And I could have given up, easily turned around and walked back to the house or maybe to the library where I could be sure of air conditioning and wireless, but once I set my mind to go somewhere, I'm not easily deterred. First I just wanted to get over that bloody river. Once I had crossed the river, I had won. But once I had finally found a road over the river, I knew I was close to the mall. And once I was that close to the mall, there was no way I was going to give up and turn around. Even though the site of a Cinnabon almost broke my determination down. Moral of the story? Even though it's not always fun to be a pedestrian walking along major roads boarding major highways, the back roads are not always quicker or easier.
So I made it to the mall. But it's actually a pretty boring mall. Quite upscale and out of my price range, so that as I wander around with my flip flops and Steve Madden backpack, I feel like I have to be watch out for the security guards who look more like policemen, just in case they might throw a vagabond like me out.
The redeeming quality? A Barnes and Noble. Where I plan on spending plenty of time happily perusing books I'll buy later on Half.com until I call my dad and see if he can drive over a couple towns to pick me up...