It’s been one of those weeks when I’ve felt one step away from being identified as “that batty Mary Lee.” I’ll leave the house, thinking I’ve got it all together and then the wheels fall off.
Tuesday, on one of those drizzly days that makes people drive insanely, I had a doctor’s appointment in a tall office building with a multi-level parking deck which, on that day, was packed. Drive “up the concrete mountain” or “down into the bowels of the earth.” I chose the narrow up ramp, following behind a string of slow-moving cars. In contrast, drivers hurrying down the mountaintop drove as if late for a road rally.
Eventually, a man coming out of the building gestured to me, pointing toward the end of the row of cars. I quickly backed up and took his spot as soon as he pulled out. Hooray! I scurried into the building, fearing that I was late for my appointment–without taking note of what level I was on.
In this building, one takes an inside elevator to a huge lobby and crosses over to a second bank of elevators hidden behind the far wall. That makes it more confusing if you don’t know where you began.
After my appointment, I headed out to begin my search. I’d parked against an outside wall, so how hard could it be to take the elevator to each level, run out to check the row of cars parked diagonally on that front wall row, and locate my car?
VERY, I learned. I tried six floors, certain I’d not gone any higher–searching each outer ramp for the familiar boxy shape of my blue Volvo station wagon. Nothing.
Defeated, I rode down to the lobby and asked the guy at the desk would he call Security to help me find my car. He gave me a condescending look and asked what kind it was. I told him, adding that I’d parked on the outside wall (I remembered looking out at the rain) and was certain I hadn’t gone any higher than the fourth level. He let out a condescending sigh to match his look and said, “I’ll bet I can find it. Sit on that bench over there and wait.”
I sat on the Naughty Bench by the elevators and waited an uncomfortably long time, smiling at everyone getting on and off the elevators, wanting to ask if they’d seen my car. Finally, Desk Guy returned, defeated, and called Security to send a car. That took another 10 or 15 minutes.
I hope that all the people milling outside noted that I entered the car willingly; no handcuffs.
The guy drove in silence up to the top, then down into the bowels. I stayed quiet, too, even though I wanted to ask why he carried a can of baby blue spray paint in his cup holder. (?) He drove slowly, looking too, not trusting me to recognize my own vehicle. Neither of us saw a single Volvo station wagon in the entire parking deck.
Had there been a Volvo Rapture?
Back at the starting point, Security guy looked a little uneasy, despite his assurances to me that it couldn’t have been stolen. We rode up the ramps a second time. No Volvo. We started down again and suddenly, there was my station wagon–parked by the outside wall, with empty parking spaces on either side of it. The Rapture committee must have taken a closer look and, finding it too messy inside for acceptance, dropped it back into place.
“What level is this?” I asked Security Guy.
He looked all around, backed up a bit, then answered, “2 1/2.”
Huh? Even Harry Potter would have had trouble with that one.