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Can You Help Me Find My Car?

memory loss in the parking lotCarol writes at Never…Ever…Give Up Hope. You can find her there sharing laughter, inspiration and interesting stories like this one. 

Memory loss in the parking lot. It’s a real thing. Why can’t I remember where I parked my car? It seems that whenever I park in a parking lot, I have no trouble getting to my intended destination but I almost always have trouble finding my way back.

I consider myself to be somewhat intelligent so making a mental note of where I parked isn’t rocket science. Sometimes the parking lots are thoughtful enough to put numbers and letters on pillars to make it easier for people to remember where they parked. As long as you remember the letter and/or the number you are home free. You think?

I can have a huge list of tasks on my agenda and get through them all with ease of remembrance but where the heck did I park? I start to retrace my steps trying to remember which door I entered the complex. Was it the North or East entrance? Sometimes I am extremely proud of myself when I get that correct but then which level did I park on – P1, P2? Up and down the stairs I travel to no avail. Did someone steal my car?

I travel by ferry often and it is embarrassing when the cars are already driving off the ferry as I am still in search of my vehicle. Wandering around and looking like a complete idiot, I am excited when I see my car only to discover it is driving away — sure looked like mine.

My husband told me years ago that if he ever needed to dispose of me he would just take me into the woods and ask me to find my way back. I considered breadcrumbs but with my luck, the birds would eat them before I found my way home.

What is wrong with me?

What is my problem? Do I not want to return from whence I came? I play the recording over and over in my head: where I entered, the parking lot marker number AND the name of the store closest to the entrance. Yet, when I try heading home, it mysteriously disappears from my memory bank.

I was in an extremely large outdoor complex of retail outlet stores last month that I had never been to before. I parked close to the entrance, made a mental note and even looked at the large map posted there. A piece of cake. Right? I was specifically looking for two stores. I had no trouble finding the stores, but then one of the vendors suggested I try a different store to find what I was looking for. They gave me directions. This complex is about ten miles long. Not really, but it certainly feels that way. In reality, it is probably closer to a mile long. But when you are lost that feels like TEN MILES.

I got to my destination, was excited to find what I was looking for and left. Now, which way did I come from? Was it the right or the left? I think it was the left but now nothing was looking familiar. With heavy parcels in hand, my feet hurting and my body not feeling 100%, I proceeded. My surroundings were looking less familiar. I asked some teenagers where the main parking lot was and they responded with, “Which one?”

What do you mean WHICH ONE? There’s more than one?

I proceeded in the direction I assumed was the right way. Still, nothing looked familiar. I started hitting the panic button on my key fob, but heard no response. After 45 minutes of wandering around aimlessly, I started looking for a security vehicle. There were several but they were empty. Where were the security guys – at lunch? My plan was to shed some tears and have them drive me around until I found my car.

I considered sitting on the curb and crying but thought that might create more problems. Thoughts were running rampant through my brain; “I will never get back home,”  “I will have to spend the night here until no cars are left in the parking lot, but WHICH parking lot?”

One foot in front of the other, ignoring the pain in my back, neck, arms, legs, feet, and head I continued walking. Then I heard it. The panic button paid off. My horn was beeping. Yes! There it is! Just where I parked it.

I was traveling and I had now wasted over an hour which meant I would arrive at my destination after dark, but at least I would be able to arrive… by car.

So what lesson did I learn? I’m not sure there is one. I’m still trying to figure out what the best way is to ensure that I not get lost in a parking lot? Maybe I should hire a driver?

How about you? How do you find your car?

Carol Graham

Carol Graham is the author of a fast-paced award-winning memoir, Battered Hope, the blog Never Ever Give Up Hope, and a regular contributor to numerous blog sites. She has a monthly column in Book Fun Magazine and has been published in several anthologies including a best-seller. In 2015, Carol received the Woman of Impact Award from Focus on Women Magazine and Author of the Year for her memoir, Battered Hope. Carol hosts a bi-weekly talk show Never Ever Give Up Hope in which she interviews people with remarkable stories of how they conquered overwhelming obstacles and achieved success. Never Ever Give Up Hope has an international audience in over 70 countries. In addition to motivational speaking, hosting a talk show and writing, Carol is a business owner, a wife, mother, grandmother and together with her husband have rescued over 30 dogs.

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Parul Thakur

Saturday 2nd of July 2016

Ha ha! Sorry for the trouble that you go through but that was a funny one. I don't drive but I assume I would have the same challenges when I do. I am very bad at directions. In my office sometimes, I get lost :P

Carol Graham

Saturday 2nd of July 2016

That is so funny Parul. I laughed out loud remembering the last time I visited my sister in her new house. I was there for a week and every single time I headed to the bathroom I went to their bedroom instead. They were going to draw me a map.

Marcia @ Menopausal Mother

Friday 1st of July 2016

Oh Carol, this is too funny and so relatable to me. I once got lost in a parking lot after a concert for an HOUR. The darn lot was a circle around the concert hall---I just kept walking around and around and could not find my car (nor could the there people with me!) until most of the concert-goers had moved along. Then I found my minivan all by itself at the far end of the lot.

Carol Graham

Friday 1st of July 2016

It's a toss up between being embarrassed and relieved, isn't it Marcia?


Friday 1st of July 2016

I feel your pain (and embarrassment). I think part of it is that even though we make a mental note of where the car is, we're not entirely focused so it doesn't "stick." I love the suggestions made to take a picture, and Anne's description of "digital breadcrumbs." Now if I can just remember to haul out my phone and snap the photo...

Carol Graham

Friday 1st of July 2016

That's it -- at the moment we aren't focused and assume we will REMEMBER. When will we learn LOL


Friday 1st of July 2016

I have done this, but no more after one terribly embarrassing time.. I was at the mall and swore I parked my car where I always park it. But went out and lo and behold it wasn't there. I panicked and walked all around for an hour and went back in the store where I had shopped and talked to clerks and told them someone took my car. I was phoning the police as I walked out another door....apparently the one I first came in and voila...there was my car. I had to tell them I am sorry I was calling to report my car being stolen but I have now found it. So I always look at my surroundings and make sure I note which door I am going in more embarrassing moments.

Carol Graham

Friday 1st of July 2016

I have done the same thing Renee. It is so embarrassing! Never went so far as to call the police but almost!!

Rena McDaniel

Thursday 30th of June 2016

I worry all the time about my memory. I forget so much, but it's like I just run out of room or something.

Carol Graham

Thursday 30th of June 2016

My hubby tells me that it is because I only have room for the important stuff, not the trivial. Yup -- let's go with that Rena

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