I’m standing in the big Waterstones yelling at my Mother, ‘It’s on the road to Fortnums. Head as if going to Christies!’ She is asking if it is on the same side as Whiteleys (apparently she meant Lillywhites) and I’m reduced to shouting, ‘Fortnums! Christies!’ like some excessively crazed country-estate housekeeper down to London to do her chores.
The trouble is, I hate giving directions. I have only the most tenuous understanding of ‘left’ and ‘right’ and therefore when people ask if I know the way, I invariably say no. (This gets a little awkward when we’re trying to get to my house). The arrival of Google Maps was one of the happiest days of my life. Finally, I had been replaced by a computer. The future is glorious. My own map-reading skills have not progressed much further than turning the map around continually and ‘feeling’ the right way. I will try at all costs to avoid meeting people in parks, outside tube stops, in department stores. Basically, I will only meet you in a bar. I will establish beforehand that we are to locate each other, ‘by the bar’. If there are several bars in the establishment, it is to be ‘the bar with the largest assortment of alcohol on display’. We are to remain on our feet until we have found each other.
As you can see, I have a pretty sturdy plan for avoiding both map-reading and direction-giving. This would be great, except other people don’t care. Apparently it is ‘weird’ to want to meet in a bar at 9.30am. People get ‘tired’, and want to sit down before I have arrived. People promise the park is ‘small’ and that they are ‘easy to find’. People are liars. My therapist moved rooms a while ago. I genuinely believed that I would never see her again. She sent detailed instructions on how to find her for our session. Once I had stopped sobbing, I alighted upon a plan. I would take a taxi! I would be deposited right in front of her! The taxi driver asked me for directions. I hate people.