Parking tends to give me a great deal of trouble, mostly remembering where I left the car. Everyone does that I suppose, especially in these parking lots the size of football fields, with rows and aisles and sections, and entire parking sub-divisions.
My husband has absolutely no patience for people who misplace their cars, although his solution to this problem seems to be to take me along so I can remember where he parked the car. He of course, can never misplace a car, since remembering where a car is, is simply not his responsibility.
I would chalk this up to memory problems and aging, except many times I have had young people with me who haven’t got a clue about where we’ve parked either. This does not stop them from engaging in mockery and ridicule of course, and jokes about addled brains. Naturally, not only have they completely forgotten where we’ve parked the car, they’ve also forgotten why they are with me in the first place, which has a great deal to do with their own level of competency and constant need for supervision. Unattended, there’s always a chance they’ll simply select a car they like and run off with it. Young people tend to be a bit short-sighted about cause and effect and long-term consequences.
It is quite humiliating to be roaming a parking lot aimlessly, searching for your car. Sometimes while you are on this walk, you will encounter some other lost soul and actually lap them as you both continue this circular journey, hoping to catch sight of something familiar. I’m quite certain everyone is watching and laughing. That’s what I do when I see people nonchalantly doing laps in a parking lot, trying to pretend they aren’t.
As if this parking game were not challenging enough, I have the added burden of frequently driving other people’s cars, people who genuinely do have some memory loss problems. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than not only forgetting where you are parked, but also forgetting exactly which car you are driving. If you cannot remember what the vehicle looks like from the outside, then you are forced to simply car prowl, peering into each car, until you can recognize something familiar about the interior.
After about half an hour of this, the person whose car you were seeking, has now probably decided their car is simply not their car. That is the problem with memory loss. Never mind that their sweater is in the back seat, that they key in your hand actually works in this car, at this point they have become convinced that the car we have been searching for, should really be the one they owned 30 years ago.
If you are lucky, they will not begin to protest loudly about how they are not going to help you steal a car. Keep in mind that you have just spent 30 minutes car prowling under the watchful eyes of 70 security cameras.
People with memory loss problems can be incredible. They cannot remember what they said 3 minutes ago, but they can lock down on the idea that we are in the process of stealing a car with the ferocity of a pit bull. This particular memory, no matter how false, is not going anywhere, anytime soon.
I’ve learned that the best thing to do in this situation is to just go with it. Just convince them that it’s okay to live dangerously once in while, that one does not always need to be good 24/7, living a proper life comprised of taking your medication on time, never missing a single doctors appointment. Sometimes you simply need to cut loose and steal a car. Live a little. Besides, I always assure them, I actually have insurance that covers grand theft auto, so all will be well.
You would not believe how many older people quickly adapt to the idea of stealing a car with some delight and enthusiasm. Older people can be hiding a surprising capacity for mischief.
***Repost from 2014