Julie, Where’s My Car?
I stood stupefied; mid-stride, mid-sentence, staring at her rusty grey pick-up truck. I’m not often without words, being quick-witted or sarcastic is my calling card on the occasions where many others will just guffaw or stutter. But seeing as how the sight before me was by far one of the most mind-boggling and physics-bending images I had ever seen, you’ll forgive me this moment of silent awe. I slowly, as if in slow-motion glanced to my right and then back again, as if daring the world to right itself before I looked back.
I quickly snapped back to my natural state and made a small sound like a donkey swallowing a hiccup. It was all I could do to control the laughter gurgling up my throat, knowing she had not yet registered what she saw in front of her. Her pleading eyes darted to my face (in situations requiring some sensitivity I am often damned by my ability to find humour anywhere) as if to say all at once “please tell me this didn’t happen” and “don’t you dare laugh”. Having been the punch line of many family jokes (her fair share, she earned every single one) she knew she would never, ever live this down.
The other shiny cars in the parking lot gleamed in the hot afternoon sun and sat unnoticed and unremarkable parked in their patterned, organized, evenly spaced rows. But one car, or pick-up truck to be more precise, was very remarkable and was starting to attract more attention than just our disbelieving eyes.
“I thought you parked over there?” was the only thing I could say, gesturing to the right. We had first walked through the aisle of cars on the right, where my sister swore she had parked her boyfriend’s old GMC, unsuccessfully searching. This exercise had at first brought me much frustration, as the humidity was causing my very pregnant belly and swollen ankles much grief as we strolled through the enormous mall parking lot. We had already sent my mother and small daughter off to find some comfort in the soothing air-conditioned back seat of my van…which, I would like to point out was parked exactly where I said it was, and right where I left it.
Did it surprise me that my sister couldn’t find the truck that she had just parked not 2 hours ago? No. It did, however, surprise me and quite a few other fellow shoppers that day to find it one aisle over, 2 spaces to the right, wedged on a 45 degree angle between a silver BMW convertible and an F150 SuperDuty truck. Now, when I say wedged, I mean really wedged. Not “oh dear, did I park my itty-bitty truck too close to your fancy-wancy sports car”…(blink eyelashes here and fan yourself like a southern belle). This was not easily explained by a bad parking job, ignorant driver, road rage, or ditsy sister. This was either the most amazing series of unfortunate events, or someone was about to jump out with a hidden camera crew and announce that we were the unsuspecting pawns on a very elaborate Candid Camera episode. At this thought I took another look around, because even that seemed more plausible, and I think my sister would have welcomed the host with tears of relief.
After a few quick observations about the directions the wheels were pointing, some scratch patterns, quick calculations as to the slight sloping nature of the parking lot, the time of the ‘parking’ and the likelihood of my sister being preoccupied by a butterfly or a hot guy walking by, I was able to discern what had happened.
This truck, being the elegant vehicle so befitting this self-proclaimed princess, not only was missing the front passenger seat and part of the rear window, but it also had trouble starting on occasion. My sister’s mechanically inclined and very trusting boyfriend suggested to her that she leave it in drive when she parked to ensure it started when she returned from our meeting at the mall (I had travelled 4 hours for this lasting memory). Wanting to get some shopping in before her boring, mall-hating, pregnant older sister arrived, my younger, tanned and beautiful, bird-brained sister did not pause a second to put on the emergency brake. Skip forward two hours and the once half-empty parking lot was now very full and her slow-rolling chariot had managed to find a more permanent resting place, one aisle over and 2 spots down, completely on its own.
How it had caused so minimal damage to the other cars remains a mystery, but is fitting, as my sister usually does come of out her mis-adventures unscathed (mostly). I came away from that day with the resolution that my sister will never drive my car, and that when she says she parked in Aisle K, spot 62, that ‘parked’ is a relative term. Although embarrassed and slightly nervous to relay the news to her boyfriend, my wise sister cheekily smiled and said “Hey, no biggie…I saved enough money at the sale at H&M that I can pay for a new front bumper and still have enough for a Chai Latte!”.
True story, however photo has been borrowed from the internet…showing my sister is not alone in this world.