Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I hate it when people ask me for directions.  It happens often, because a lot of lost people assume I know the entire city like the proverbial back of my hand because I'm a meter reader or something.  But that's not why I hate it.  The reason I hate it is because the vast majority of people don't know how to take directions.  There seem to be a lot of people who want to hear directions like:  go to where the Best Buy is across from the Wal-Mart and then find the Pizza Hut next to the green house.  My wife is one of these.  Recently we were going somewhere, with her driving, and she asked where she should exit.  I told her the exact exit number.  "Is that where that Mexican restaurant is?" she asked.  "I don't know," I screeched, "just take exit number so-and-so."  I don't remember the number now.

By the way this is another flat tire story.

So today I was doing my regular cycle 17.  This is actually two routes bundled together, and it is usually done by two people.  However, the other guy is on vacation this week, so they gave it to me to do in 2 days instead of one.  So yesterday I did pretty much all the hard stuff and left all the easier stuff for today.  This is a common tactic.  You have to work longer and harder the first day but it means you have a really easy day coming up the next day.

This route starts way down on South Presa, south of Berg's Mill, then goes down Southton Road to Shane Road, where it does a couple of neighborhoods and finishes up on Villamain about where the "haunted" tracks are.  Somewhere on S. Presa I must have hit something with my right rear tire.  About the time I turned onto Southton, the low tire pressure idiot light came on but it wasn't a fast leak so I kept going until I could park in a good spot on Bobbie Allen Way, where I could walk the neighborhoods.  I called the office and they dispatched the tire guy--this was at 7 AM (I got an early start, read my first meter at 6:30)--and he said he'd be there "within the hour."  I knew this was b*******, but I hoped for the best.  I did the neighborhood on the south side of Shane Road because the houses there are very densely packed and I could (and did) do close to 200 meters per hour, which pretty much finishes it off.  So at 8 AM, the tire guy still wasn't there.  I called in and told them that he wasn't there yet.  So they sent one of our "team leads" or whatever they call them now with another truck that I could take, and he was going to sit there with my truck until the tire guy fixed it, then drive it back to the office.  So he called me and asked where I was.

This is where I groaned aloud.  I knew this was going to be a cluster****.

Knowing that he was leaving from the office, I told him, "Go south on South Presa until you get to Southton Road, then turn right and call me for more directions."

So he asked, "Is that off of 410 down there?"

"Uh, yeah," I answered.  "Just go south on South Presa until you get to Southton Road, then turn right and call me for more directions."

Well, although that neighborhood on the south side of Shane is very dense, the neighborhood on the north side of Shane is not.  In fact, it is so not-dense that I always motor it ("motor" in this case being a verb that means I drive through it).  The difference is that although I can do 200 meters per hour on the south side, there are only about 70 meters on the north side and it also takes a whole hour.  So I knew I was going to be stuck walking that side.  I drank some water from my truck and took off.  About 30 minutes later I came back within close enough sight of my truck that I could see it was still flat.  I called in again and told them the tire guy still wasn't there.  About that time the team lead guy called me again and asked if I was over there in the place back behind Stinson Field.  Holy...

It is true that I was in the same general area of Stinson Field, in the same way that the Alamodome is in the same general area as the AT&T Center.  I said, "Well, I never come from that direction.  Just go south on South Presa until you get to Southton Road, then turn right and call me for more directions."

I should mention here that ALL EMPLOYEES ARE ISSUED MAPSCO MAP BOOKS, which old-timers still refer to as "the Ferguson."

See that look on Bud's face at 1:08?  That's how I looked most of this morning.  There are always a couple of spare books kept in the office for occasions exactly like this.  Also, if you walk in the front door of our office, go straight ahead until you either have to hit the wall or turn right, and turn right, you will see sweepingly huge maps of our entire service area covering the hallway walls.  Or, for the rest of you, it's at that place where the women's restroom is across from those big offices that are empty all day.  If I had been this team lead, I would have asked what street the guy was on and he wouldn't have heard from me again until I was pulling up next to him.  But then, I am apparently not an idiot.

Another 30 minutes went by, which made it 9 o'clock.  I finished everything that I could possibly walk, and then dead-walked (walking a long distance without reading any meters) back to my truck.  Lo and behold! there was the tire guy.  I stood there for less than 10 minutes while he finished up, and as I was signing the receipt for the job, the team lead guy drove up.  "Man, I've never been down here before.  I was lost!"  I just shrugged, but what I really wanted to do was scream, "That's because you didn't go south on South Presa until you get to Southton Road, then turn right and call me for more directions, you ******* imbecile!!!"

It wasn't a big deal, because I had an easy day anyway and I only lost about 30 minutes from having to walk instead of drive.  But still, when I give someone explicit directions, why can't they just follow them instead of driving all over the frikkin south side for an hour trying to figure out where I am?  Sheesh.

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