Lots of things freak me out. Like clowns, and small spaces, and bookshelves that aren’t alphabetized.
And being lost.
Except I’m not cute when I’m lost. I’m swearing and shaking and jumping at shadows and it’s terrible. Once my brain decides I’m lost, I pretty much believe I’ll spend the rest of my life as a hobo and never see or speak to anyone I love ever ever again.
And the fun thing about me is that even if I know where I am geographically, I’ll still flip into “lost” mode if I run into an unfamiliar situation.
Cue: our story.
Once upon a time, I went to visit some of my old high school friends on their college campus. Since we didn’t go to the same university, I was fairly unfamiliar with the campus layout, (translation: lost mode kicks in immediately). As anyone will tell you, trying to find parking on a campus located in the middle of a city is a nightmare. Finding my friends’ apartment wasn’t enough – I had to find somewhere to park too. By the time I’d located a parking garage, my nerves were shot. (Side note: at this point in my life, I was also not a pro a using parking garages.)
Anyway, I made it, found my friends, hung out, blah blah blah happiness and friendship. And then it was time for me to go back to where I belonged. Since it was dark and late and a college campus, my friends (lovely people that they are) walked me to my car. I offered to drive them back to their apartment, and here’s where things get fun.
We all piled in to my Volvo (affectionately named Volvo Baggins), and I realized that my car was the only car left in the garage. I hate being the only car left in parking garages. It’s creepy and weird and everything starts to feel like the beginning of a horror movie. So I was already a little nervous because you never know when some crazy chainsaw wielding monster is going to crash onto the scene.
I pulled up to the pay station for the garage, and put my car in park so I could reach up and feed my ticket into the machine and pay (I have T-rex arms, unfortunately). Keep in mind though, that I was already nervous and uncertain: a) because horror movies and darkness and b) because parking garages and c) because residual lost mode. As a result, I accidentally shifted my car from park into reverse, not drive. When the gate opened to let me out, I promptly reversed my car backwards five feet – much to my surprise and horror. In the time it took me to shift into drive and make up the lost ground, the gate had closed again. (Remember how earlier I said I wasn’t a parking garage pro?)
We were trapped. I had already fed the ticket machine my ticket, I had paid, but I wasn’t out. And all my friends were in my back seat. Enter full blown lost mode. At this point my memory is a little hazy, but I think I frantically drove around in circles in the garage trying to find a secret way out. I think I even briefly considered just trying to smash through the garage gate (obviously not a great plan).
Finally, I pulled up to the gate again and found a call button. I don’t know who it called or why they were awake, but I had to explain to them that I had managed to get myself and several friends trapped in a parking garage. Fortunately they believed me, and by some magic opened the gate.
I have them to thank for the fact that I’m not still living in my Volvo in a parking garage, trapped until the end of time.