Asking Directions

Men are usually labeled as the species who would rather die than ask for directions. I’ve always believed that to be so, but I also believe there’s a problem with the terminology.
Men usually would argue that they are never actually “lost,” because deep down they are all explorers.

W. Bruce Cameron, famed author, speaker and syndicated columnist once stated in an article that asking for directions means giving a complete stranger a higher status than you, so he has permission to burn your crops and pillage your houses. Who wants that? A man would rather pull over and yell insults at a stranger than to ask him how to get somewhere.
I firmly believed in that before. Not now, after I went on a short trip to General Santos City a couple of weeks ago.

Best friend Gwen and I who are both unfamiliar with the city streets were in one of the malls shopping for pasalubong for friends in Davao one afternoon. After a few hours, I glanced at my watch and saw that it was already six o’clock so I suggested that we get a bite somewhere before catching the last trip for Davao.

As she was also hungry, Gwen nodded and together we went to the fastfood section. Alas, the place was filled to the brim with diners.

“Sa McDonalds nalang ta Gwen! I suggested, so we went out of the mall. It was already dark outside and the street was unfamiliar because we came out of the side entrance.

Having no idea where McDonald’s was located in the city, we stood on the side of the street for a few minutes while a persistent trycicle driver kept on pestering us.

“Where do you think is McDonald’s here?” I asked Gwen. She simply shrugged her shoulders in an apparent gesture that she too, does not know where.

“We could ask someone before we board a trycicle because who knows it’s just very near here,” she suggested.

“You know, nitagam nako mangutana because I really felt stupid when I asked a man in Cebu City one time where Metro Gaisano was and I was standing right near its side door. The man looked at me as though I came from another planet speaking a different language,” I said.

She saw the logic in this and so we opted to be wise and confidently boarded a tricycle parking near us (no, its not the one who pestered us earlier but he saw us board the other trycicle).

“Where to, miss?” the driver asked.

“McDonalds lang,” Gwen answered.

The driver repeated his question and Gwen repeated her answer. The other drivers looked at us and snickered. As we were both hungry and tired, we didn’t pay much attention to the snickers but we soon found out why.

The trycicle made a u-turn and there, about ten meters away, McDonald’s red and yellow sign glowered brightly, as if mocking us because had we looked up from the point where we boarded the trycicle, we would have seen the huge sign we were looking for.

I nudged Gwen’s side when the driver delivered us right to door but I saw that she was tying very hard to supress her laughter.

Meanwhile, here are some lessons I’ve learned the hard (and embarassing way):

*It’s okay to ask for directions. Don’t be embarrassed, and don’t worry about other people judging you.

*Remember, getting help when you need it is part of being responsible to yourself.

*most of all, its better to be stupid and ask directions than to prove that you really are stupid.

Meanwhile, I’m assured that men still occupy the higher rung in stupidity about about asking directions because just three days ago, I went to Sultan Kudarat with two male publishers who obviously believed it unnecesary to ask for directions.

After alighting from the bus, we boarded a tricycle to take us to a certain restaurant, which turned out to be just a few feet at the back of where we were. The trycicle driver did not take the fare.

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