Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Beginning of the End?

Okay, I know aging isn't, as my dad would say, "for sisses."  But, so far, I think I've done quite well.  My body parts are in tact and, as best as I know, not diseased.  Sure, my headaches are a pain but usually controllable by medication.  I still hear well, have strong teeth, have good eyesight (with my glasses), and so on down the line.

But Sunday changed my "Gee, you're in great shape" list.

I had a busy schedule.  First, a dance class, then an art opening, and, finally, a birthday party out in the burbs.  I drove my rental car (mine is in the shop) to dance and enjoyed a rousing class, even if the humidity signalling a rain storm caused a more pronounced sweat than usual.  I zipped home, bathed, changed, and drove down to Chicago's Old Town, an area of quaint, older homes and winding streets that seem to snake in multiple directions making confusion an operative word.  The photo show held in what is really a community center didn't show the photographer's work in the best light, but he's a friend and I stayed longer than what I had determined was enough time to drive all the way to a northern suburb.

Prior to the gallery opening, I'd parked my car on one of the main streets in Old Town.  I also looked up at the intersecting street signs to make sure I could find my car upon my return.

No such luck.  When I reached the spot, the car was nowhere to be seen.  Now, mind you:  The four-door, silver car looks like about 50 per cent of other cars on the road today and an overly abundant number of cars in Old Town, at least on this particular day.  Panicked, I raced up and down the adjoining streets, squeezing my key door opener every few minutes.  Nothing.  No rear light flashes.  No sound alarm.  Not a damn thing.

It started to rain.  Harder and harder.  Even my umbrella wasn't keeping me dry.  Baffled then extremely stressed, I must have looked completely lost because not one but two strangers stopped to ask if they could help.

It was useless.  My car was gone.  I didn't know the license plate number, and the amount of time I  had left to make it to the birthday party was quickly elapsing. 

I was in big trouble and, by this time, near tears.

So, this is what it's like to lose one's mind?  Was I on the verge of dementia?  Had all my enthusiasm about the state of my body and mind been a charade?

I had no alternative but to walk back to the gallery in shame where I would tell my husband that I'd lost the rental car and desperately needed his help to find it.

As I headed up the street, I pushed my key one last time.  Lights flashed.  And on a silver, 4-door that looked like "mine."  Quickly, I ran to the front door and peeked in.  I'd never been so happy to see a recognizable water bottle and a few paper wrappers. 

Soaked but relieved, I unlocked the door and jumped in.  Of course, I'd be at least 30 minutes late to the birthday party, but my host would understand.  And if she didn't, well there was nothing I could do about it.

I won't go in to detail about how I almost lost "my" car later in the evening after the party or how it took me extra time to find the correct exit out of the shopping court.  I'll leave that to your imagination and to my chagrin.

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