High anxiety in the parking lot

Please, tell me where my car is!

Not again. I came out of Target, gazed at the vast, packed parking lot and realized I had no idea where my car was. I always mean to make a note of the parking row, but often forget as soon as I’m out of the car. 

I managed to remember it wasn’t too far from the store, so I went down the first row, clicking my key button and waiting hopefully for the beep. Silence. I turned down the next row, clicking. Silence. Another row, silence….

After the third row I got anxious. Evidently it showed, because suddenly I heard a sweet, angelic young voice. “Ma’am, do you need help?” I turned to see a pretty young woman looking at me from her SUV window, at exactly the same time I clicked my key and heard…my car!

Then the angel asked me again. “Are you lost? Can I help you find your car?”

“Oh, I just found it, finally! But thanks so much. I appreciate it.”

It was wonderful to encounter such a helpful, caring young woman in this age of self-centered individualism. Perhaps I reminded her of a beloved grandmother. I’m 71. At the same time it was disheartening to be so distracted I couldn’t remember where my car was and, the worst part, that it SHOWED. My anxiety was probably flashing like a warning light.  

I might find myself again someday wandering up and down parking lot rows, searching among countless nautical-blue Toyota Corollas for “216” at the end of the license plate. But maybe I shouldn’t be so anxious. “He shall direct your paths,” Proverbs 3:6 promises. The young woman was a reminder that God always sends angels. Almost always, anyway. Maybe I should have gotten her phone number.  

Better yet, maybe I should be my own angel and take responsibility for myself and enter the damn parking row in my iPhone notes. It’s time to grow up.  


4 thoughts on “High anxiety in the parking lot

  1. I can sure relate to that. At least you didn’t have to use the guy riding around in a jeep looking for people just like you. I have used him. Warmly, Pat


  2. I’ve had that experience a couple of times, and I’m only several years younger. I might add Store name to my list of row and section to find my car. I don’t know if that would have mattered for you since you found your car. Recently it became apparent how different the world looks from different doorways!


  3. LOL! I can relate. This happens to us every once in a while. We’re in our mid-60s. And last weekend, I commiserated with a mom and dad with kids who came out of Safeway, looked around, and said, “Oh no!” They’d forgotten where they’d parked. They were in their 30s, maybe early 40s.

    So, I’m not sure it has anything to do with age, but rather with mindfulness and being present in the now. We spend so much of our mental time thinking about the past or the future that we forget all sorts of things: where we parked the car, where we put our keys, did we close the garage door, what day of the week it is (thank God for television!), etc. We succumb to distractions and function on auto-pilot a good deal of the time. We’re just so over-stimulated that we don’t attend to what’s happening right now. Making a mental note just falls by the wayside.

    So, don’t grow up, just be present. Infinitely easier and ultimately much more fun.


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