I have distinct handicaps that make parking lots challenging for me. First of all, I am directionally dyslexic. I never know for sure where I am in relation to the rest of the globe. I get lost walking around the block.
The words north, south, east and west mean nothing to me. In my world only six directions exist: forward, backward, left, right, up and down. Therefore, when I park my car on a parking lot, I establish navigational markers to help me locate the car when I am ready to return to it.
Last Tuesday afternoon I had to venture out to buy milk because the grandkids were coming over. On this particular outing, I made a mental note that I had parked between a red Kia Soul and a small, yellow sports car with one of those “COEXIST” bumper stickers on the back. The front of my car was pointing toward the yogurt shop, and directly behind my car was a crater-sized pothole. Having established my landmarks, I entered the store.
When I exited the store about an hour later I found that once again, as always happens to me, some jokester had moved my car. I looked for my navigational markers. I saw no red Kia Soul, no yellow sports car and no “COEXIST” bumper sticker. A nail salon sat where I thought the yogurt shop should be. What’s more, half of the cars on the lot had crater-sized potholes behind them.
I was not shopping at a large mall with 72 different exits and entrances scattered all around the building. The store I visited was large, but it had only one entrance. Therefore, I knew I was on the right lot.
With the help of my electronic key fob, I located my vehicle. No wonder I couldn’t find it. My car appeared to have been greased down and slipped into a petite space between two of those stretched-out, wide-hipped behemoths ridiculously called pick-up trucks. Carrying three filled grocery sacks, I approached my vehicle.
I stood behind my car with one foot on either side of the pothole and placed my shopping bags in the trunk. I then inched my way through the tiny passage between my car and the black monster truck parked beside me. When I reached my car’s front door, I could open it only about eight inches due to the cramped space. With great effort I squeezed through the opening and into the driver’s seat.
This brings me to my second handicap related to parking lots. I am what my 6-year-old granddaughter calls a bad “backer-upper.”
I fastened my seatbelt and cautiously looked to my left and right. In each direction I saw a truck that extended at least twelve feet beyond my rear bumper. I would literally be backing blindly. I started my car, put it into reverse, and began the painstaking, nerve-racking process of backing it out of my space. I knew that if some unlucky driver passed by in back of me, I would hear the crash before I saw the car.
Twenty minutes later I was out of the space and able to shift my car into drive. My hands were sweating and I realized that I had bitten through my lower lip. I saw that a small crowd had gathered and was standing a safe distance away in order to observe my maneuvering. One of the women held two small children against her body, as if she thought they were in danger.
My ordeal over, I returned home, unloaded my bags and began putting away my purchases: some grapes, a head of lettuce, cheddar cheese, brown sugar, three greeting cards, some coloring books, and a four-pack of light bulbs.
Suddenly, realization struck me and I slumped against the kitchen sink, completely defeated. I had forgotten to buy milk.