Thursday, April 7, 2011

The times I lost my car.

I get lost in parking lots.

Fine, I said it. I confess. I've never told anyone before. It rarely happens when I'm with someone, because that person I'm with usually can locate a car in a parking lot.

Unlike me. Today for example. I went to Target. I parked. I walked inside and had a Target blackout. Then I came too outside in the bright sun with $100 worth of body wash, eye cream, adorable new unmentionables (Has anyone see how cute Target's lingerie section has gotten? No way am I ever spending more than $15 on a bra again), a tape recorder (The lady who checked me out asked if I was buying it to secretly record people. She didn't laugh like it was a joke. I stared at her for a few seconds, blinked, tried to awkwardly make it into a joke then started word vomiting about being a writer. As she scanned my new thongs. It was...awkward), and various other Target things that were not on my list but which were irresistible to me while under the spell of a Target blackout.

I strolled boldly forward into the parking lot, sure I was in the middle row, somewhere toward the back. I always start out this way, confident, sure that I will be able to find the car I parked less than an hour earlier. But after a few paces, I start to feel that nagging sense of disorientation. I laugh it off. My car is just up there, on the other side of the ginormous Suburban. Oh Liz. Such a worry-wort.

But then I get to the end of the aisle and no car. I avoid eye contact with the people around me and march to the next row of cars. Then I walk all the way back to the entrance. Still no car.

It is at this point that I feel that everyone is watching me. I can see their concerned expressions, like oh dear, "that poor girl must be either drunk or in the midst of some minor stroke." And still, no freaking car. I walk up another row, then another. I look around cars, between cars. I look under cars, as if I've lost a penny instead of a several ton piece of metal.

I try to act casual, like I decided to take a little post-shopping stroll. Oh don't mind me folks, I haven't lost my car, I'm just enjoying the beauty of asphalt on this nice spring day. I try to pretend that I'm actually heading toward the entrance, but then I realize I have shopping bags and that the rouse will not hold up. I see another woman with bags, looking around in seeming confusion. Yes! Someone like me. Maybe we can search together, form some kind of lost car support group. We can have a nice long hug, maybe go back into Target and get some Starbucks tea, regroup, then try again with our wits more firmly about us.

But the moment doesn't last. She finds her car and I suddenly hate her and her stupid hair. This is usually the point where I'm convinced someone has stolen my car. Never mind that it's a Thursday afternoon. Never mind that we are in the West End in a crowded shopping area in full daylight. Some culprit has absconded with my car. They decided against the BMWs or the Volvos or the Mercedes and headed straight for the nearly ten year old Ford Focus, broke in a window without anyone noticing, did that thing with wires to jump start it, and took off. And they did all this without any of the dozen shoppers around noticing.

It is usually at this point that I consider calling someone. But then I stop, because what on earth would that do? I'd expose my early onset mental deterioration to a friend or family member, and then what? They'd beam there to help me look? They'd offer moral support over the phone?

As I stroll up a row for the third time, I finally, FINALLY see my little car. I want to do a little dance and cheer, but I hold it in. I act cool, maybe glance around and chuckle. What can you do? Secretly I'm burning with shame.

This should not happen to a 25 year old right? I mean is this normal? Is this some kind of rare genetic disorder no one has discovered, a fragment of my brain that never developed?

I worry for the future. Because if this gets any worse, I may just have to start taking the bus.

Although then of course I could forget where the bus stop is.

2 comments:

Mary Catherine said...

Ever notice that little red emergency button on your car remote key (I'm sure there's a more technical name for it, but you know what I mean)...anyways, it's for people like you who have no sense of direction and apparently who have early onset Alzheimer's. BTW I was literally "lol-ing" through this entire post.

liz ramsay said...

The red button is the last resort. Don't think I haven't done it. But it is embarrassing.

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