Stranger Encounters: Where to Go

Excerpt from mail sent in 2001

Too tired to cook, I ate out tonight at the 9th and Irving area. Then I was too tired and full to waddle up the hill to my apartment, so I went via the UCSF campus, taking advantage of their parking lot elevator: both the top and bottom of its eight stories are at street level; different streets.

I exited the elevator at the top, and a man said, "Excuse me." He wanted to know where the "main building" was. Actually, it seemed like he was saing "men building", and I couldn't figure out what he was saying. But he looked worried, so I asked if he was looking for the hospital, and he was.

I don't usually give bad directions, but I have been known to give bad directions. I didn't want to give this guy bad directions so I walked with him out to the sidewalk and pointed him at the hospital. I asked him if he wanted emergency, or just the hospital part. He asked if the hospital seemed like the right place if his dad had had a heart attack yesterday.

It wasn't until I walked away that I thought about all of the maps and signs that UCSF has up directing people to the hospital. It wasn't until then that I figured out that this man probably couldn't read English.

Full and lucky, that's me. So far. *knock wood*

Tree of Consciousness (2001)[>>]

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