Who’s Got the Road Map?
by Ann Cheng
A couple of years ago, I spent a summer tour guiding at the Parliament of Canada. Visitors young and old from across the world flocked to marvel at one of our nation’s most prized monuments, take photos of Parliamentary chambers and admire the view of the national capital from the top deck of the clock tower. Although the majority of these tours ran smoothly, logistical bumps would often spring up along the way.
No sooner would my colleagues and I ask visitors to keep the door closed at the end of the hall when several would promptly push it open and begin milling into the hall on the right, reserved only for staff and parliamentarians.
No matter how many times we asked visitors to stay on the left side when walking from stop to stop (a trick to keep traffic running smoothly in the building), there would always be a few who wandered to the right to take photos.
Despite our pleas for the visitors to stay with the group, a determined few would hang back to admire particularly ornate pillars or appealing tableaux, only to lose the group and rejoin us at another stop with a constable’s help.
And then there were the anxious questions:
“How many more stops?”
“Can’t we take this shortcut?”
“How come we can’t go there?”
“Can we slow down?”
“Can we pick up the pace?”
“Why does she get to go in that room? Is she more important than us or something?”