I asked her to repeat her question, since I didn't understand it, and when I heard it again my assumption was that she meant "expressWAY", but it could've also been express train or bus...depending on where she was coming from and how she was intending on traveling here. But I didn't know that since she didn't actually even tell me where she was coming FROM.
But as soon as it became clear that she was asking me for directions, I began to beg off.
"Oh, you're asking me for directions? I see. No, sorry, I'm not good with directions and don't want to tell you the wrong thing and have you get lost." This is my standard (true) answer.
"But I'm calling from South Holland," the woman on the phone says.
I resisted the urge to make a crack about how it'd take a long time to get to Evanston from The Netherlands and told her that I truly have no idea where that even is, so I don't want to try to give her directions on how to get here.
The caller yesterday seemed to understand and accept my rationale for not wanting to give her directions, but other callers have not been able to let go quite as easily. One woman calling from Skokie was so incredulous that I wouldn't walk her through the entire trip, turn-by-turn, that she just kept asking me the same question over and over again until I finally said a polite goodbye and hung up, and then she called back, insisting that I must give her directions or she wouldn't be able to come.
I didn't give her directions. She came anyway. And scolded me for not being more helpful.
Don't get me wrong. I'm fine with answering a few simple questions. Address, cross streets, "just a bit north of Pete Miller's", Davis St. Purple line stop, etc, etc.... But I'm not going to tell you stuff like "turn right" here or there. I deal with north, south, east, west, not right and left. My wife used to (before the era of smart phones) ask for directions using the right/left format, and I always refused to accommodate what I view as a stubborn refusal to utilize the basic language of speaking about location and directions.
Bottom line, if you can't be bothered to learn the basics about navigation, I'm not going to serve as your personal GPS.
Oh, and while it occurs to me that a blog post might not be the best medium from which to send out this message to its intended audience, it seemed like a mildly interesting subject for a blog post. Happy Travels!