My husband is known among his climbing buddies as "The Pathfinder!!" (and yes, the exclamation marks are part of that most honorable title)
This afternoon however, his path finding skills degenerated into utter disaster when we finished several hours of successful mall crawling, only to lose our car in the attached parkade.
Maybe we were too stuffed from our delicious halal lunch to think clearly, or maybe we were flying too high from our successful shopping trip, or maybe...dang it...we really are just OLD and forgetful, but we had a terrifying half hour tramping around the parkade in search of our vehicle and coming up with nada!!
When we entered the parkade on our way home, we took a few steps from the doorway and realized that nothing looked famliar, but there was an easy explanation for that we assumed: when we originally parked our car and went into the mall, we had simply entered through a different entrance door. If we walked around the entire 4th level of the parkade, our car would jump out at us, no problem, easy peasy.
HAH! We walked around the entire 4th level. We walked around the entire 4th level twice. No car....whaaa?? So, we walked up to the 5th level and found ourselves on the top, out of doors section of the lot that turned out to be employee parking only. We knew we weren't so confused as to think we had parked out of doors with the employees, so back down to the 4th level we went again. Again we walked around the entire level and no success at spotting our car. Hmmmm.....we had to pay for the parking at a machine prior to leaving the mall and we had only 20 minutes to exit before we would be charged for more parking time. By now half those minutes had elapsed. O well, how much longer could it take, right?
Well, my husband thought perhaps we had screwed up our original premise that we had actually parked on the 4th level. After all, the highlighting colour on the walls of the level we had been around twice was purple, but he was certain the colour on our parking level had been yellow. Since I hadn't noticed either way, I was no help to him on that. HOWEVER, I did remember that as we were driving around initially looking for a parking stall, we passed a row of handicapped parking spots on the level underneath the level we ended up putting the car on, just a few stalls away from the handicapped stalls on our floor. So, off we went AGAIN around the 4th level seeking those spots because our car would have to be there, right?
We did find them on level 4. We didn't find our car parked anywhere near them.
What to do....????
This time we tried going down a level, to level 3 and made the circuit down there. We found the handicapped stalls on the first loop, but we didn't find our car...not anywhere near the handicapped stalls....not anywhere at all. By this time our 20 minutes had elapsed and I wondered what the penalty was going to be for breaking the time limit for leaving the parkade. Around we went again, just in case......
We decided to go back to level 5 and work our way systematically down, level by level, to the bottom of the structure in case we really messed ourselves up and were actually parked on level 2...although how we could have left our car for the nearest stairwell and walked UP to level 3 when we were both certain we had walked DOWN to level 3 from our car was anyone's guess.
So, back for tour two of level 5, tour four of level 4, tour three of level 3 and our first of two tours around level 2. STILL NO CAR!!! We knew that we knew that we knew we had not parked on the entry level, BUT we still made two tours around it anyway. Still no car anywhere in sight.
We looked until our eyes were bleary at the ticket the machine had dispensed upon entrance to the parkade, but there was nothing written on there to indicate anything at all about levels or stalls...well of course there wasn't. When the ticket was dispensed the machine had no way of knowing where we were going to end up parking, but after a 35 minute search without locating our vehicle we were getting a little slap happy with panic.
About this time we decided it must have been stolen. Yes, we know no one would really want a car as old as ours, not the cleanest inside and with a few exterior blemishes developing, BUT also it would be one of the easiest cars to break into and jack start as it is so old. How could we possibly call the police and report our vehicle missing when, at this point, we had lost all confidence in ourselves as far as being able to report where exactly it had been stolen from!!???!
Then my husband had his first brilliant, pathfinding idea: we would go outside, locate the entrance where we had driven in and retrace our path from the start in hopes something visual would trigger our failing memories. Off we went and o my, the entrance seemed to be incredibly far away from where we walked out of the building.
Finally we found it. Fortunately a parking attendant was sitting in the exit booth. We walked up to him and shamefacedly admitted we could not find our car and were wondering if we should call the police. He asked to see our entrance ticket, took a very quick look at it and a great big grin spread over his face. He asked us if we realized there were actually two sections to the parking lot. We were very surprised to hear this and as he explained the situation we were also rather humiliated.
Turns out the lot is divided in two sections, with the mall being in the centre between them. When we left the mall we exited through the wrong door into the lot...it wasn't the one we had entered from after we parked the car, but we were so busy laughing and giggling about our shopping successes we weren't paying sufficient attention, just walked through the one exit door we noticed at the time. Sigh...who knew?? Obviously not us. Sigh.....
The attendant told us where to go outside again to find a door that would get us safely into the right half of the lot. We climbed the stairs there to the 4th level, walked into the lot, glanced across from where we came out the door and there was our car, parked just down from the handicapped spots. There was the yellow highlight colour for our floor, the very one my husband remembered during our panicked race around the other half of the parkade.
Less than a minute after we got the information from the attendant we were back again, inside our car on the way out of the stupid, "@*#%^'ing" (insert bad word of your own choice) parking lot!! The fellow was so incredibly nice about it. He didn't even charge us for the extra 45 minutes we spent hiking and climbing around the place.
We were so embarrassed we hardly said a word to each other all the way home. When we pulled up to our own door my husband said, "I don't know how I am going to live this down when I tell the guys what happened today." I responded with, "Why tell them?? Don't you think it's horrible enough that the parking attendant knows??"
Once we were back inside our home and our purchases unloaded and put away we had a nap.
That IS what old people do when they exhaust themselves unnecessarily, isn't it? ISN'T IT??? Sigh.....apparently we will be doing a lot of daytime napping if this trend keeps up....sigh.....