Ask me anything! Except for directions

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

There's a reason why I'm an editor, and not that lady who narrates your GPS

February 22nd, 2012


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Guest post by Jackie Davis, assistant editor. Every day—and I’m 100 per cent not exaggerating about this—somebody asks me for directions. I used to think that this was a location thing. The Cottage Life office is right downtown (in Toronto) where there are tourists, so, on my way to and from work, I naturally come into contact with a lot of people. And they’re always lost.

But I’ve discovered that no matter where I am, or what I’m doing, people will ask me for directions. They’ll approach me on the sidewalk, pull over in their cars while I’m jogging, shout at me from across the street, and stop me on the subway train, in coffee shops, in hospitals, or in the middle of intersections. People will ask me for directions while I’m at the cottage, sitting on the dock or hiking in the woods, and, frequently, in weird places, such as the grocery store aisle (“Where is the cheese?”) or the gym (“How do I get out of here?”)

I have no idea why. My sister says it’s because I look incredibly bland and ordinary, and that makes people feel calm. Which is nice, I guess, except that I’m not good at giving directions. I couldn’t even tell left from right until age nine, I still have a hard time directing people to my own home, and quite frankly, I don’t feel confident about where the sun sets. (It’s still “in the West,” right?) So I usually give people incorrect information, or I can’t help them at all. Once, when I was about to successfully give someone directions, a homeless man sitting on a park bench took over and ruined the moment.

The bottom line is, nobody should ask me for directions, unless they want to know, “How do I get to Cottage Life?” And even then, I might not be able to help.

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Penny Caldwell