Gone direction

You really have to feel quite sorry for the poor Spanish chap who, unwittingly, caused the cancellation of one hundred and thirty flights at Munich airport the other day. Details are sketchy but it appears the young man in question became disorientated after nipping to the bathroom and then waltzed through a security door into a prohibited zone, prompting widespread panic.

There but for the grace of God. My lack of any sense of direction whatsoever was legendary amongst my chums as a young cove. Hilarious antics would ensue any time I needed go anywhere. It wasn't uncommon for me to find myself in a broom cupboard thinking that was the door that led back to the part of the pub where I'd left my friends only three minutes earlier. Hotels, with their generic hallways, uniform colour schemes and evenly spaced doors were - and still are - a total nightmare. How's a man supposed to get his bearings in a such hellish surroundings? The internal conversations I would have with myself were risible.

"Right, the lift was next to the fire extinguisher which you clearly saw on the way to your room."

"But we can see at least four fire extinguishers from here. Please, just ask the cleaning lady."

"Which one?"

"The one by the fire extinguisher."

"What about the one coming out of the lift?"

In a car, things would get even worse. If I had a penny for every time I asked for directions only to see the person being asked puff out their cheeks, scratch their head and say something like "Blimey, it's not round here, mate. Actually, you're on the wrong continent," I'd have enough to buy a Satnav thingy.

Normally when people read stories about drivers ending up in rivers/ditches/old people's living rooms because they didn't read the Satnav properly, they laugh heartily and wonder how anyone could be so foolish. I, on the other hand, nod empathetically remembering the time I drove a small lorry the wrong way up a one way street in a sleepy Norfolk seaside town as grown men clasped their heads in horror and young mothers clutched their children to their bosoms in scenes of carnage Stephen King would have been proud of.

Having no sense of direction is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you meet lots of new people in places you have no business being; on the other, you always have to leave the house two days early for an appointment, having factored in the myriad labyrinthine detours which will inevitably rear their ugly heads.

The young man in Munich is facing the possibility of criminal charges, apparently. I'd be happy to support his cause as an expert witness.