thief of time

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Getting Lost

One thing I don’t mind is a nice walk in the bush—early in the day, of course, well-covered from the sun and on a well-marked path.

I’m not exactly saying I want a paved footpath through the trees, but I’d really rather not get to some point in the walk where it’s not obvious which way to go and you try one way and it’s a sheer rock face and you try another one and it ends up the same. Then you’re unsure whether to push on or, discretion taking the better part of valour, retreat.

It always makes me speculate about my chances of ending up one of those short news items about the poor lost traveller that goes out ill-equipped into the bush and spends days lost, suffering from hypothermia, dehydration and the whole host of things that can happen to you out in the bush—if you survive. The only good thing about the Australian bush is that you’re unlikely to run up against large, unfriendly carnivores, though the spiders and snakes add their own special touch to the possible experience.

Something happened the other day in one of our larger department stores that reminded me of my hiking days—not the possible danger, just the frustration.

My daughter was busy trying on various things and I decided to use the time to find the department store’s facilities.

Now, I could have gone out into the shopping centre, but it seemed a straight-forward activity, so I started out with great confidence, following the well-marked signs that indicated the toilets were in such and such a direction. I got to an intersection and, again, the signs showed me which way to turn. I followed on, when the trail petered out and didn’t seem to be heading anywhere in particular. Puzzled, I retraced my steps to the last sign to make sure that I was going in the correct direction, which I was. Back again I went, but more slowly and uncertainly, busily scanning all the side aisles where the toilets might have been hidden.

It was still no good, but I became determined. I retraced my steps one last time and took a side shoot that I hadn’t noticed before and there they were. The toilets certainly weren’t obvious.

Was it all a plot to encourage people to use the facilities out in the shopping centre, or was I just someone with no sense of direction?

Judging from my outdoors hiking, I suppose I’d better drop the paranoia and just memorize where they are for the next time.

2 Comments:

  • Maybe next time you can adopt the usual bushwalking toilet technique. The "foliage" available in a clothing store would probably be superior to that end as well.

    By Blogger Gregory, at January 25, 2005 at 3:30 PM  

  • No way. I even prefer my bush walking to be within walking distance of toilets.

    Did I mention I was a city slicker?

    By Blogger Bee, at February 4, 2005 at 11:06 PM  

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