As occasionally happens when one is a professional student, one becomes overwhelmed by the sheer amount of procrastination that one undertakes and is forced to take a step outside, away from all the work and non-working, to clear ones head. I was offered the opportunity to do so today when Leia, discovering that we were out of milk, decided that she was going to go and walk to the shops to buy some. She too was procrastinating and thus, it was better for both parties involved to just take that step and leave the lab...
We walked down to the shops of the Matrix (our student centre where purveyors of everything sweet and greasy ply their trade; if I ever get heart disease, I'll be blaming it on the Matrix...). We walked into the 7/11, deep in meaningless conversation about the perils of the student life, or something to that effect. As we approached the wall of glass doors that are the fridges, we discovered to our horror that there was a large empty space where the milk usually took residence.
In utter disbelief, Leia shuffled from door to door, examining the contents of each fridge, in the vein hope of finding that one carton that somehow went unnoticed by previous shoppers. Unfortunately it was not to be.
Conceding defeat, she announced that they had no milk and together we forlornly left the store.
BUT WAIT! There is also the Cafe Fino in Senate House! Perhaps they might have [ridiculously overpriced] milk!
With the hope of this revelation in our hearts, we began to trek up the hill to Senate House. We arrived through on of the side entrances and continued down the 'Disability Unit' corridor. Just as we were reaching the end of the corridor, the person who had been walking in the opposite direction to us stopped and spoke to us.
She looked Mediterranean, about 50+ years of age and wore an ochre/orange jacket. Her hair was died an impossible blond and had the fatigued look of a little too much time at the office. She started by asking us if there was an exit that took her to the traffic lights in the direction that we had come. A little confused as to what she was asking I responded with silent blinking.
Leia, a little more on the ball than I, requested clarification. It turned out that the woman worked in the block north of the university and had come in to pay something but had somehow gotten lost on campus. She had found the financial office but now needed to return to her car which she had parked near a set of traffic lights on campus.
'Oh...!' I recounted internally. I proceeded to offer her a detailed description of a route that would take her directly to the traffic lights she sought. The route was not complicated; literally just walk in one direction, in a straight line until you reach the road. Then turn right, following the road down the hill. Et viola!
Clearly uncertain, the woman thanked us and proceeded to walk the suggested route, muttering something about how despite her navigational skills she had other redeeming features. Feeling that the incident had concluded, Leia and I resumed our conversation.
A few words into the chat, we were again accosted by the lost woman. This time in a rather determined tone, she asked if there wasn't an alternative route through one of the passages to her left. A little perplexed, we assured her that the route we had suggested was the most direct and simple route. Thanking us again, she resumed her waddle toward the street.
We entered the store, found the milk and payed for it, all the while chuckling and muttering about the crazy woman who seemed convinced that she knew where to go, in spite of demanding directions from complete strangers. As we left the store, we walked toward the building exit and stopped dead in our tracks...
There, waddling between buildings was the crazy woman! She apparently had walked the route we had suggested just enough to seem like she hadn't completely disregarded our advice outright and then had gone with her gut...the wrong way. Neither of us wanting a repeat encounter, we decided that it was best for all involved that we run in the opposite direction, giggling with milk in hand...