I have a really good sense of direction and spatial awareness and all of that obnoxious jazz. I say it’s obnoxious because I know I make it so–I have been known to say, “I would NEVER get a GPS because I don’t need one,” or “I found a new shortcut–I just figured out which direction was home and completely circumnavigated traffic!” I can tell you exactly which way is north at any given moment, and I don’t even have to look at what section I parked my car in because I will just know where it is. Except when I don’t know where my car is.

A dear friend of mine once lost her car in a time of great stress. One morning, she woke up and her car was gone. She spent the day on the phone with her insurance company and the police, and later on when I called her to ask how she was coping with her stolen car, she said, “Well. It wasn’t really stolen. I forgot that I parked it someplace different.” I tell that story to illustrate that highly intelligent and delightful people have memory lapses sometimes.

Last night, Goldie (blog nickname for The Girl) and I went to see a movie at Atlantic Station. It was close to midnight when the movie let out, and I was annoyed by the yuppie pretentiousness of that whole complex, fighting sleep, and angry at the frigid air conditioning in the theater, and Goldie was exhausted and wasn’t feeling well. In short, we were like a couple of worn-out toddlers. I got my parking stub validated and we descended underground into the parking garage and toward my car. And my car wasn’t there. And we walked and walked and walked. In circles. I started sweating, which is what I do when I’m anxious, and Goldie was looking green, and we were both understandably annoyed with me. It was like a Seinfeld episode, only not funny at all. Everything started to look the same and I started to wonder whether this was an impossible endeavor and whether we would die in that garage because I’ve had a bit of a fragile mental state lately.

I was shedding more layers of clothing when a garage attendant on a golf cart rolled up and asked if we would like a ride to find our car. I sheepishly and reluctantly said yes because he might have super powers. The guy reminded me of a non-homophobic Tracy Jordan (I know that because I kind of tested him) and bless his heart, he sure tried to small talk us up and cut the tension. And he drove us around in very speedy circles that started making me feel queasy and I tried not to cry. He asked questions meant to be helpful, like, “What garage entrance did you come in?” And I couldn’t remember a thing except that we drove down a street where Goldie admired fancy new townhouses and I admired little older cottages, and none of that would be helpful to Tracy. “Did you turn right or left when you came in?” he asked. “Did you see those fences?” “I don’t know,” I whimpered.

And then, we turned a corner, went down a ramp, and there was my little 13-year-old car. Where I remembered parking it. But a level below where we had been wandering. “Yes! I do remember two escalators now!” I exclaimed, and Goldie and Tracy probably wanted to run me over with the golf cart. But they resisted, bless their hearts. And I am never going to Atlantic Station ever again.

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