I was born with an excellent sense of direction. It’s my secret superhero power. I would have done well on that TV challenge show where they blindfold three contestants and drop them off somewhere in the world, then the first one to get back to London and touch Nelson’s Column is the winner. For some strange reason, wherever I am, I always know which way North is.
On the other hand, Steve, my sixty year old boyfriend, has a sense of direction that is so bad, he could get himself lost inside an empty cardboard box.
He knows his route to work, which is ten miles away and as that drive means he has to go through the city centre, he knows how to get there, too. He also knows how to get to the Sunday morning car boot sale in the countryside, but apart from that he’s really, really hopeless when it comes to finding his way anywhere or even knowing where he is. He is so bad in fact that I have learned not to let him out of my sight when we are travelling because this normally intelligent man will certainly just wander off aimlessly like a child and get lost.
Backpacking around Scotland recently, Steve and I arrived at the bus station with an hour to spare before our connection. Directly across the road was a tiny indoor shopping arcade. The first shop was a boulangerie and as I was hungry, I bought a sandwich. Steve informed me that he needed to buy a toothbrush. Next door was a cosmetic and toiletry shop. Walking over to the shop’s entrance and quickly observing that there were no exits at the far side of the shop for him to wander out of accidentally, I suggested that I wait at the doorway while he went in to buy a toothbrush. Tired from travelling, I absent-mindedly engaged in a bit of people watching as I slowly ate my very large baguette. When I had finished I looked at my watch and realised that he’d been missing for thirty five minutes! Not wanting to wander away from the doorway in case he returned I popped my head inside and asked the nearby assistant where the toothbrushes were.
“Upstairs, my dear, by the door”.
Knowing immediately what had happened to my mislaid boyfriend, I went upstairs to find him stood in the doorway of the shop directly upstairs from where I was waiting for him.
“Where’ve you been?” he enquired with a worried tone in his voice. “You’ve been gone ages. It only took me a couple of minutes to buy the toothbrush and I came straight back like you told me to. I didn’t want leave here and go looking for you in case I got lost.”
“You’ve completely forgotten that you came upstairs to look at the toothbrush stand, haven’t you?” I stated with a small hint of sarcasm.
“Did I?” his puzzled face slowly started to show signs of remembering and realisation. “Oh... Have I been standing at the wrong door?”
I sighed, shook my head and rolled my eyes.
For eighteen years I have feigned exasperation at his bewildering ability to never have the faintest idea where he is or where he’s going, but in reality, as I go over all the many incidences in my mind, I cannot help but respond to my memories with laughter.
LJ Idol, Topic 1 - Jayus
Jayus is an Indonesian word. The main translations of the word are -
'a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh'
'used to denote/comment on some joke that is supposedly meant to be funny, but not'.
An Indonesian dictionary web site informed me that the word could also mean -
'To make comment on something bizarre that is a different mindset to our own'
'Those who pretend'.
The title quote is from an Indonesian proverb