PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Life as Lucy Ricardo, Part XIV -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Or Perhaps Mr. Magoo

“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.” Elsa Maxwell

In the last days of my being able to drive at night, I had a lot of rules for myself and precautions. And yet, life was sometimes unexpected – and amusing.

Late one fall afternoon, I received a call that I was needed at a crisis meeting at one of our facilities. It was a place I rarely went and, therefore, was unfamiliar with the area. My first thought was that it would be dark by the end of the meeting. Driving after dark in an unfamiliar area would be breaking one of my primary rules. But duty called.

As I pulled into a parking space facing the street from the small parking lot, I memorized everything I could and then pushed the concern into my Scarlett mode. “I’ll think about that another time.”

The meeting ended productively and brought back to mind the predicament that awaited me. A good friend was in the meeting, though. She knew about my vision issues and said she would walk out with me. Life is good. We got to my car and she pointed to the traffic light at the parking lot exit furthest from the building. That would be the easiest way for me to make a left turn and quickly return to known territory. When another of the meeting participants walked over to talk to me, Carole told me that she was in the black something-or-other car a few spaces down and that she’d wait for me at the traffic light.

With the after-meeting conversation complete, I got in my car, backed out of the space and began looking for the black something-or-other. I’ve never been able to tell one make of car from the other, but she’d be the only one at the parking lot exit I presumed.

I inched my car down the row of vehicles until -- -- ah ha! Black whatchamacallit car angled toward the light. I pulled in behind her and waited for the light to change. It did, but she didn’t move. The light went through its cycle again, but no action from Carole. I didn’t understand, but I waited another cycle, then became concerned that she might have become ill.

I squinted and, as the headlights of cars on the street zipped by, I tried to see the outline of her shape in the driver’s seat. Nothin’. But, I told myself, she’s kind of short. Another traffice light cycle and no movement. I was about to get out of the car to go ask if she was ok when there was a tap on my window.

Lowering the window, I saw the manager of the facility. The guy I’d just been counseling with. He asked me if I was ok. My internal logic program went into overdrive processing why he would think that I wasn’t ok when I was simply waiting patiently for Carole to exit the lot. So I mumbled something to that effect. There was a pause so pregnant that it might have belonged to an elephant. He looked toward the car in front of me.

“I’m parked just two spaces down,” he said. “Why don’t you follow me out of the lot.” I said that I would.

I reluctantly backed away from the black car, but wondered how we were going to get out of the lot by going further east when I was already at the exit. As he backed out and I fell in behind him and we rolled to the east, it all became perfectly, embarrassingly and hysterically clear.

I hadn’t been at the exit. That wasn’t Carole’s car. I had been sitting behind an empty, parked car for 10 minutes. All the way home, I laughed until tears rolled down my face.

Hey, Mr. Magoo’s got nothin’ on me.


ForkInTheRoad said...

My favorite line: "There was a pause so pregnant that it might have belonged to an elephant."
A delightful post, my dear friend.

Scarlett said...

Thanks much, DH!