I had only just started telling him how to get there and he already wanted to leave. He erupted into fidgety spasms, as I explained how he would have to navigate five sets of traffic lights. His feet were already marching off, pulling his lower body in the vague direction I had pointed while politeness and my insistence he be present for the completion of my directions kept his head engaged with mine.
“Now you’ll get to a main road…”
He began tearing at his face.
“Straight over the crossroads…”
His mouth started foaming and a guttural moan rose from the depths of his soul.
“Take the second right and that will lead you straight to Covent Garden.”
The relief was palpable. The young Italian looked like he had just emptied his bowels.
I turned to the Bobby taking a break from his beat with a highly sugared latte and a brownie.
“That wasn’t directions; that was an exorcism.”
“People don’t want to hear how you really get there,” he said in his wise Geordie way. “Anytime I give a direction I say ‘certainly sir, straight down there and on the right’. It’s not the right way like but they say ‘thank-you officer’ and walk off with a big smile on their face. Job done.”