September 29, 2011

Directionally Challenged

I do lost. I do it brilliantly. It is, in point of fact, one of my greatest skills.

My sister has complained that after living in and around a certain major metropolitan area since, oh, say, the day I was born, I probably ought to know where its neighborhoods lie and how they connect to each other.

I do not. I get lost. Even in the city of my birth.

And gee, that's fun.

On Saturday I dragged my two youngest kids to the biggest mall in our area. A great big outlet style mall. Big, big parking lot. So big, in fact, that it features valet parking at three different entrances.

I know my own deficiencies. So whenever I go anywhere - work, the grocery store, the colossal mall with 87 movie theaters - I park in the same place. Always. I pick one favorite row. I know where it is. I walk down it until I find my car.

Brilliant, right? It works every time.

Unless, of course, said mall has decided to do massive construction on its parking lots. Hence the valet parking. Because there is no parking. None.

I don't pay to park at the mall. There's a sort of ridiculousness in paying to park when you're paying to shop. So we avoided the valet and, after driving around for 15 minutes, lucked into a little, hard-to-find space as someone else was leaving it. The space was not in my row. It was in the unfamiliar hinterlands. I made a mental note that the car would not be where I expected it to be. I studied landmarks. I asked my kids to help. Then we bravely left our little car to fend for itself.

In the mall, I dropped insane amounts of money on child-sized fall clothes. I'm not sure why my kids keep growing out of stuff. Possibly it's because they're kids. Oh, but I found a pair of dress pants I could wear to work, to replace all the ones I don't have anymore. And they were a size 4. 4! I'm not even kidding.

But I digress.

I got a text at that point to come pick up my oldest from his playdate. So we trucked back around the mall loaded down with our big bags of stuff, exited ... and spent 40 minutes trolling the parking lot for our red minivan that looks just like every other red minivan in this part of the world. Ours wasn't there. I pressed my panic button. No answering honk. I pressed it again. And again and again and again. Still no honk.

So we went back in the mall. Where we realized we'd come out the wrong door.

When we went out the right door, we found the car, right where we left it. So we got in it and drove straight home.

Or we would have. Except I got lost doing that too.

That'll teach me to leave the GPS at home.

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