Me and the Car Situation

You have never met anyone dumber about cars than me.

I’m not quite sure why that is, but it has been true all my life.

As a kid I would sit on the front porch with my brother and sister and they would name the cars driving by. Ford! Chevy! Oldsmobile! they would shout. I looked at them in amazement and hoped for a Volkswagon to come along so I could join the game.

Sad to say, more than 50 years later, that is still true.

For instance… when my kids were little we were visiting my sister-in-law Karen and her family. In the confusion of leaving later, my son Brad accidentally locked the keys in the car. (It was the first car we had with power locks.) So I went back up on the porch and knocked on the door. Karen flung it open and asked “what’s wrong?” (she was quick like that!) When I explained we decided to call the police and ask them to bring a “slim jim” to unlock the driver’s door.

I went to the kitchen and made the call. The officer who answered asked me, “what kind of car do you drive?”

Now that shouldn’t be a trick question, but I drew a blank.

Embarrassed, I turned and asked Karen, “what kind of car do I drive?”

“Buick,” she said in a startled voice. “Maybe a ‘79”

I repeated that to the officer.

“How could you not know that?” Karen asked when I hung up.

“Geez, I don’t know. How do you know that?” I replied.

Soon we were back in the car and I knew Karen wasn’t going to let me live that down. It was just too good of a story not to tell. We laughed about it for years.

Sooo… fast forward to 2010 or so.

I was meeting my daughter Ellyn at the grocery to shop for a family dinner together. I got there a few minutes early, parked the car and walked over to the bench in front of the store to wait. It was a gorgeous day and I people-watched for a few minutes. Then it occurred to me that I should give Ellyn a quick call to make sure she wasn’t waiting inside.

Turns out she was!

I grabbed a cart, found her in the lobby and we did our shopping.

After we checked out we walked through the parking lot with our carts. As we continued side by side I said, “Oh! You must have parked in the same row as me!”

Just as I spotted my own car, Ellyn stopped, too.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m going to put my groceries in my car,” she replied.

That’s when we both noticed that I was parked right next to her.

“You’re kidding me!” Ellyn cried.

“Whaaaat???” I retorted.

“You didn’t know I was already here? And you didn’t even notice the Bengals license plate?” she inquired.

“Well, I don’t look at those things, you know….”

And that was my only excuse. At least Ellyn thought it was funny (she knows my history) and we had a good chuckle about it.

But I still wasn’t cured.

And I still outdid myself.

In late 2012 I moved from a 4 bedroom home to a small 1 bedroom apartment. Storage units were key so Ellyn and I made a trip down Cincinnati-way to IKEA. Man, what a store! It is huge… and packed… and overwhelming. But we got tons of ideas.

Before leaving the store we went to the cafeteria for some food. (You have to try their Swedish meatballs!) Finally we were ready to leave, so I filled up my soda and off we went.

My mind was filled with beautiful visions of IKEA units in my new place and we were both juggling purses and papers and sodas while walking to the car. When I saw Ellyn’s silver van I veered off and got in the passenger seat. I couldn’t wait to study the handouts I had picked up. But a minute or so went by and Ellyn did not get in on the driver’s side. What was she doing?

I looked around for where to set my soda down. And suddenly things did not look familiar. The console was different, there were strange objects all around and this van was nowhere near as clean as Ellyn’s was…

OMG! I’m in the wrong van! I swung my head to the left and saw Ellyn two cars over sitting in her vehicle.

She had just had a similar experience… she had gotten in the driver’s seat and wondered what was taking me so long. When she looked to her right she saw me sitting in another van two spaces away.

Our eyes met and I was stunned. I quickly jumped out of that van and ran to where I should have been.

By now Ellyn was hysterical and so was I.

Honestly, how does someone do that? I was 61 years old! And I knew it was a silver van!

I am much more careful now but I’m still not sure what can happen to me if left unattended in a parking lot. At least my kids know that and watch over me. And when I go to Kroger I always park in the same row – no matter how far out – so I have no doubt where my car is.

Meanwhile, here’s my beautiful daughter… the ever-patient Ellyn…


Thank goodness I had her!

And consider yourself warned… Lock your vehicle lest you come back and find someone like me sitting in it!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jenpedwards
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 08:05:31

    BAHAHAHA!! We are two peas in a pod with this malady…I can’t tell you how many times I have walked out to the parking lot and can’t find my car or remember which car I drove there. Ugh! I love the humor with which you view yourself and your life. And I too, would recognize a VW bug (and would certainly know which car I drove if I owned one!!! It is on my bucket list!)


  2. jenpedwards
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 08:06:07

    Oh…and beautiful portrait of your daughter by the way!!!


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