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Have you lost your car?

Have you lost your car?

Posted: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 8:02 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

I don’t exactly have an excellent sense of direction. I get lost easily. I hate when people ask things like, “Are you guys north of the highway?” Yeah. I’ve no clue which direction the highway is. I give directions like, “When you see the pretty blue house with two pink flamingoes and a red headed yard dwarf, turn left. When you see the gas station with the rusty sign and the three-legged dog, take a right.”
My poor sense of direction is never so profound as when I go to the restroom at a restaurant. I come out the door of the ladies’ room and I’m often faced with two or three unidentified doors. I’ve no idea which one leads me back to the dining room. I’ve gone in the kitchen. I’ve ended up outside. It’s embarrassing.
I lost my car today in the Walmart parking lot. It was drizzling. Today I had particularly poor recollection as I paced through several parking areas. I tried to stay calm. After a few minutes of searching, I felt like crying — not because the Wonder Bread™ was getting soggy, but because I felt like an idiot. One older man laughed and said, “Missy, you’ve lost your car, haven’t you?” I wanted to say, “No. I find this kind of strolling therapeutic. The rain clears my head and freshens the produce in the bag. It’s good for the soul. Besides, the truth is, somebody probably stole my four-door hot rod and is joy riding through West Tennessee. It IS 11 AM and you know how most criminals love to sleep in, have a late breakfast and head to Walmart for a late morning rampage of car thieving.” 
That’s the problem with small towns. If you’re wandering aimlessly with a cart of groceries through the parking lot, no one even remotely believes your car was stolen. They believe you lost it. No one says, “Gosh, I hope someone hasn’t hotwired that woman’s Saturn.” Yeah. Nobody says that. I think the words “hotwired” and “Saturn” have never before been said in the same phrase.
I politely looked at the chuckling man and said, “Yes, I sure have lost my car. If you see it driving off without me, call 911.” He laughed cheerfully at my plight. I forgave his laughter. Any man who calls a 40-year-old “missy” deserves a second chance.
Eventually, I found my car. I stopped trying to remember where I parked it and approached the situation systematically. I went up and down every row until I saw the little red Saturn. I still believe someone stole it from my original space, went on a joy ride and then returned it to another part of the Walmart parking lot. I’m just glad they didn’t change the radio station.
I don’t know if I’ll ever gain a good perspective on directions. I may always walk into the kitchen in restaurants. I may forever struggle with finding my car. I’ve been told this is not an “intelligence” issue and I choose to believe that information. It’s probably one of those right brain/left brain things. It’s OK to lose your car in the Walmart parking lot occasionally. Try to smile and move on with your life. And the soggy bread? Whatever you do, don’t put it in the toaster trying to dry it out. Trust me on this one.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.26.10

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