I must have a face that at once tells a stranger “hey, he can be trusted” and in the next moment tells the stranger “this guy is off his rocker.”
In the past week or so I have been asked for directions by three strangers. Each time I was in the middle of my walk around Victory Park, which surrounds Haggin Museum, in Stockton. Apparently, my face also tells a stranger “this guy can be interrupted in his futile attempt reduce his waistline, lower his weight, and reclaim healthy ways.”
The first was easy – a family wanted to know where Banner Island Stadium, home of the Stockton Ports, was located. It was merely a matter of telling them to turn around, go back the way they had come, and make a left turn onto Fremont Street that runs along the Stockton Deep Water Channel and to the stadium before running into downtown Stockton.
The third was merely to confirm what a motorist knew.
“Is Harding (Way) that way?” yelled a motorist at a red light pointing northward.
“Yeah,” I yelled back, bobbing my head up and down in affirmation.
Of course, as soon as I walked away, I immediately doubted myself. It forced me to plot out in my mind the street grids in that part of Stockton. I was correct. I think.
But it was the second person to ask for direction that makes me scratch my head, even now.
A tractor trailer rig with a load of lumber pulled up in front of Stockton Fire Station No. 6, which is located in Victory Park. The driver – a fella in his late 50s or early 60s with graying hair and glasses – jumped down from the cab and ran around the front to stop me on my fitness quest.
(I told you that my face must say to strangers that I can be interrupted on my fitness walk.)
“Do know how to get to Oakdale?” he said. “It’s around here isn’t it?”
I told him that I believed that Oakdale was in the next county to the south, about 30 minutes drive. (In fact, it was in the next county and closer to Modesto than to Stockton. Yahoo! Maps has the travel time at nearly 40 minutes.)
He didn’t believe me. He said the map he had showed that it was much closer. I asked to see is map so that I could show him his destination was in fact in the next county.
His response made me believe that the map he had must have been scribbled down on scrap paper by someone else who wasn’t certain of the area or simply didn’t know it.
I assured him that Oakdale was in the next county and that it was about 30 minutes drive away.
“Is that a fire station?” he asked me, pointing to the structure with “Stockton Fire Station No. 6” on the front and a fire engine parked in the driveway. I’m not sure the guy had a solid grasp on the blatantly obvious.
He made his way to the fire station to garner more reliable directions, which I am sure would have confirmed my own directions for the guy.
Here’s the sticking point – why is a truck driver in an unfamiliar area not carrying a map of the area? A truck driver without a map? Doesn’t make much sense to me.
Hope he made it to Oakdale.