I did a bad thing tonight.
A terrible thing.
It was an unintentional thing. But it was a terrible thing none the less.
I left work. A man accosted me in the street asking for directions to a street I had never heard of. I didn’t know where it was, and I told him so. But I can’t let things lie, so I looked it up and worked out where it was, more for my own benefit than anyone elses. He had already meandered off looking for it.
And, hey, I’d never see him again, right?
He walked past me a little while later, still lost. I was waiting for the bus. Trying not to make eye contact with the man who talks to himself, shouts at strangers, was wearing trousers which fastened well below his waist and had pissed himself.
You know, as you would.
I thought I’d be helpful.
“I’ve looked up that street…” I said. And proceeded to tell him where I thought it was.
He was very appreciative. And off he went.
Only… well, it wasn’t where I thought it was.
Hilariously, I’d had the map the wrong way round when I looked at it. I thought I’d aligned myself correctly. But I had not. So essentially I’d sent this poor lost man in entirely the wrong direction.
This was further proven when the man came walking back along the road he had previously been sent along by me. But I was really, really intently busy when he came back and he was on the other side of the road and I didn’t see him and he didn’t see me. Probably. But I bet he was calling me names.
But then I started thinking, even though I’d got my map the wrong way up with modern phones it’s very easy to get directions from where you are to a place in real time. If I was trying to find the street he was, I’d have maybe turned asked for directions instead of just zooming in and out of a map all the time.
That’s how I’m justifying this. We both used technology badly, but I knew a way that I could have used it better if I was in his position. Which is, quite possibly, still lost in Huddersfield town centre.
In fact, I didn’t use technology badly. I used the technology perfectly. It was just a user-interface error that saw me sending someone as far away from where they wanted to be as is humanly possible.