Is This Your Car?
You know… you’d think that if you spent 20 minutes looking for a parking spot, you’d remember where it was. But no. Now the entire parking lot looks familiar.
It’s not your fault. When you’re running errands, the location of your car is not the main thing you’re thinking about. Getting back is not your main goal.
Unless you said, “Let’s go so we can come back.”
It’s especially annoying if you go to several stores in one outing, because you have to remember where you parked at each store. “Did I leave my car at the last store? I don’t think so. I definitely don’t remember walking here.”
So you find yourself walking the parking lot maze, sort of like a rat with cheese, except that you already have the cheese—you just bought it—and it’s rapidly getting warmer. If you find your car, you get to refrigerate your cheese.
You know what would make the maze easier? Seeing it from above. I think stores should start selling roof access.
So you have to hike. Hiking around a parking lot is a great time to discover how many cars look like yours. You got the car because it was a popular brand and color, and now you’re thinking you should have gotten a less popular car.
Why don’t cars have stripes anymore? There is only a limited number of solid colors. Whatever happened to station wagons that were one color on top and then brown on the bottom?
So the best way to find your car is to do it methodically. Worst-case scenario, by the time you’re through the entire lot, everyone will be gone and your car will be the only one left.
It’s even worse when someone’s following you in a car at that really slow stalker pace because he wants your spot, and meanwhile you’re walking up and down the aisles, up and down, cutting between cars that are way too close together, and trying to lift a full cart over people’s mirrors. Maybe you should just go back and ask the guy for a ride around the lot. Does he have room for your groceries?
Meanwhile, the longer you’re walking around, the more you find yourself wondering if someone stole your car. Your middle-aged car in the dead center of a huge field of five thousand cars. He’s stealing yours. You can’t find the car, but somehow he did. If he could find it, he arguably deserves it. How many better cars did he bypass to get to yours? How many cars did he try breaking into in a lot that almost always has people driving by looking for spots?
“Are you leaving?”
“Yeah. As soon as I break into this car.”
To be honest, I’m not great at finding my car either. My go-to idea, of course, is to push the little key thingy over and over. Unlock. Unlock. Unlock. That’s why that was invented.
“Where did the noise come from? No idea; I’m gonna do it again.”
So anyway, I’m walking around the lot, pushing the button over and over, holding it over my head, waving it around, and after a few minutes, I realize that I’ve been pushing buttons on the wrong doohickey.
“I didn’t come in this car. I came in my other car. I’ve been unlocking the wrong car for the past ten minutes. This car isn’t even here. My wife took it to work.”
I’m sure this happens to you too. But I’m so OCD that what I do is, after I realize the mistake, I feel the need to push the “lock” button for this car that’s nowhere near me, just in case it’s now 40 miles away, getting repeatedly unlocked, when I can’t even unlock the one that’s somewhere in this parking lot. But I have to push “lock” anyway. Meanwhile, my wife is driving along, and suddenly the car goes, “Bi-bip!”
One neat idea that people suggest is to take a picture of your car, using your phone. That way you can pass people and show them the picture. (“Have you seen this car?”) Then you can forget to delete the pictures, like always, and when people look through your old phone photos, they’ll come across several pictures of your car in various locations. And they’ll decide that, judging by your pictures, you look like a guy who’s very proud of his car.
This is a relatively new method, though. In the old days, you’d have to wait until the next day to get your pictures developed.
Another thing experts say, if you’re afraid you won’t recognize your car, is to make sure it has identifying features, like a rapidly bleaching sefer in the back, something hanging from the mirror and a pillow that for some reason heats up your back while you drive.
I also know people who hang a shopping bag from the antenna before they walk away. The kosher grocery store near me has bright red grocery bags, and, in addition to helping you find your car, they’re awesome for spotting other people from Passaic when you’re at major events and tourist attractions.
Though in general, if you find yourself losing something as expensive as a car, you should probably stop taking it with you when you go places.
By Mordechai Schmutter
Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has four books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected]