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I like to think that I am trustworthy.

Apparently, I also look trustworthy.

Plenty of people at the airport ask me for directions, and they probably aren't all doing so because I'm in a uniform at work, though that's a factor. Today I'd sat down for lunch at Beaches, a tropical-themed basic-eats place in PDX before security, when a passenger made a beeline for me. He asked me for directions to the taxis. Luckily, the view from Beach Shack (the place where people can get Beaches food to go) gives a direct view to the escalators, so I could point to them and say Go down one level, go outside, find the crosswalk and cross to Island 3. He thanked me and headed the way I'd pointed.

Today after work, I got off the bus earlier than usual because I was going to the Holgate branch of the library, when apparently I looked trustworthy again: in the Walgreen's parking lot at SE 82nd and Holgate, a woman with two children headed towards me. In decent second-language English, she said she needed to get to an address that was close, close to that Walgreen's, and where was it? I answered as clearly and distinctly as possible, hoping I wasn't doing the dumb "speak English just louder" thing that too many of my fellow Americans do, asking what specific place she was trying to get to. And then I almost screwed up, because when I looked at the Walgreen's address which was almost correct, I had a brain lapse and thought the address she needed was south of us, which made no sense as south of that Walgreen's is a cemetery. I said so, potentially confusing them, and I feel bad about that. But I thought the address she'd said was there, until I told myself No, it has to be just north of here. I had her and her children follow me through the part of the parking lot facing 82nd, I confirmed that the gyro place just north of the Walgreen's technically has an address on the side street off of 82nd, not 82nd so that couldn't be the place she needed, but that green building across that side street: is that what she was looking for?


It's not, of course, enough to look trustworthy, you should be worthy of it. I was worried, yes! worried, so worried, I'd steer this woman and her kids wrong, but I stuck with them and got them to where they needed to go. She thanked me and took them into the place, and I got back walking towards the library.

I've accidentally steered people wrong before. I remember times like that. They stick in my craw. So I wanted to do this right. Relievedly, I did.


Whale fluke
Chris Walsh

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