Directions, Please?

This morning I was on my way to a small group I recently joined. On the way there a guy flagged me down while we were both stopped at a red light. I thought that was a bit odd, but I thought maybe he was from Michigan and saw my license plate. Or maybe something was wrong with my tire or another part of our van. Nope. He asked for directions. From me. The woman driving the minivan from Michigan. That wouldn’t have been my first choice for getting directions in Birmingham. Now if we were in Michigan, I could get you almost anywhere in Kent County, as well as many other places in the state. But I’m in Alabama and my license clearly shows I’m a bit out of place. Nevertheless the guy asks me. And would you believe it, I actually could tell him! I did tell him he probably shouldn’t ask me because I was from Michigan. He said he was from Florida. (Good luck to him!) He asked for directions to the Galleria…the big mall in Bham. I’d been there exactly twice but that was where I was headed, so I had just called Matt for directions. I was pretty excited I could actually give someone directions somewhere!

But then I started thinking. (I do that sometimes. It gets me in trouble.) Why would he pick me out of all the cars on the road? (It’s an extremely big and busy road. He clearly had other options.) Was it because I’m a woman in a minivan? Do women in minivans know where all the malls are? Maybe. So then I’m a bit annoyed that I could help him and had actually fed into that stereotype. Normally I avoid the mall and shopping in general, so feeding into that stereotype was really a fluke. But then I started thinking more. (It doesn’t end sometimes!) If I was going to ask someone something, would I go for the person that best fits the stereotype? Yes, I might very well do that. So I’ll cut the guy some slack. Especially since I’ll never see him again. Unless I go to Florida. Then maybe I’ll ask him for directions.

So if you come to Alabama feel free to ask me for directions! Don’t mind the Michigan license plate! I can easily get you to:
The Mall
One hospital
Several grocery stores (including Whole Foods, so that’s not a bad deal)

I also have a good shot of getting you to:
A couple schools
The library
The zoo

Yeah, I know, it’s like I own the place.

It’d just be sooo much easier if I could use my hand as a map when giving directions.

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