Anyone who knows me, knows I am useless at finding places. Not only that, I get nervous about it. So my favourite feature of my iphone is, of course, the maps. I don’t get so nervous about driving new places anymore – it’s so easy to map out a route before you go, and then have Siri guide you through.
I tend to follow it pretty blindly. If Siri says I ‘have arrived’, I’ll barely even check I’m at the right number.
I know. Soon, I’ll never have to think for myself again.
Last week I had to run an errand with Bman, and we were looking for a certain government agency. Siri guided us through an unfamiliar part of town faultlessly and I silently thanked technology. When we arrived there were a group of people standing outside…and I don’t know why, but I felt at ease. I’m usually kind of…I don’t think shy is the right word. Reserved maybe.
So we wandered up, big smile from me, ‘Hi, I think I might be in the wrong place, I’m looking for <insert organisation here>”
Gorgeous lady in hippy style dress: ‘What do you need to find that for?’
Usually I’d give a very vague answer…I don’t like being asked questions, and I’m pretty private by nature, well in person anyway. Clearly not online .
Instead I told the whole group the whole story, and ended with, ‘I’m guessing this is how they stop complete idiots from homeschooling their kids, by making the fucking form impossible to get’ Smiles, laughing and nodding all around, even from sulky looking teenagers…these seemed like my kind of people.
‘So, what is this place?’
Teenage boy: ‘Oh, this is the reach-out’
*blank look from me*
‘Like a soup kitchen, a place to eat if you don’t have much money’
‘Oh ok. I must be on the wrong side of the street or something. Thanks so much’
Wanting to ask, ‘where are your parents?’
‘Come in anyway, someone’ll know’
So we did, and chatted to the volunteers, and some of the people eating, got directions – we were in walking distance.
“Come back for a coffee, we’d love to keep chatting to you’
Walking back, a mum with 2 kids in holey clothes said hi, she hadn’t seen me here before…it’s free the first time and then 50c for a meal…but, looking at Bailey, the children always eat for free.
We thanked her…explained we were just dropping back because everyone was so nice to us when we had the wrong place. I looked down at Bman, wearing designer jeans, airwalks…wanting to play with her kids…we’re all the same, we just have different struggles I suppose.
I don’t know why I’m writing this, I guess I feel guilty… it’s not like we never struggle but not like that…I haven’t had much exposure to people really truly not having enough in this country. Of course, I know it’s happening all the time.
As we walked in (another) teenage boy asked if we had enough money to eat today…I could have cried. There was so much kindness there…so we sat down with a coffee…Bailey had some cake…and people just came over and started talking. Telling stories, explaining their circumstances, saying how they got here without being asked, asking me and Bailey about our lives, what sport does he like, why do I wear a headscarfe, how old are we…
Their stories, they could have been ours…there but for the grace of God and all that…