Friday, October 26, 2007

in which I record my dumbass tendencies for posterity

I never claimed to be clever. My dear friend Mr Woo doesn't call me Jellyhead for nothin'. It's just that sometimes I go months without doing something majorly stupid, and I convince myself I'm just middle-of-the road silly.

I went to the shops today on an present-buying errand. Gift purchased, I left the shopping mall to go fetch my daughter from school. I headed for where I recalled having parked my car. No car.

After wandering that parking level for awhile, I decided to try the next level up. Feeling a lot like Jerry Seinfeld, except without any friends, I strode anxiously around the top car park. No car. I began to feel panicky. Time was ticking away, and even if I found the car immediately, I was going to be late to collect Laura. I tried phoning the mobile of another school mother, to see if she could help. No answer.

Now sweating in the heat, and with tears prickling at the corners of my eyes, I headed down to a lower level. Except, in my haste, I went down three levels, effectively skipping the actual car park where my abandoned car lay waiting. Half running, I scanned the basement car park as I jogged. No car. By now the tears were leaking out my eyes and running down my cheeks. I finally came to my senses and phoned my best friend, Belly, who lives not far from Laura's school. Belly promised to go meet my daughter, and to let her know that she wasn't forgotten - that she merely has a hare-brained mother.

With shaking voice and tear-stained face, I stopped an elegantly-dressed woman to ask her if she knew where there was a taxi rank. Kindly, and without further questioning, the lady explained how to find a cab. Running now through the shopping centre, I ignored the heads turning my way and prayed that none of these spectators were patients of mine. If any were, they probably wouldn't be for long. I wasn't a sight to inspire confidence - professional or otherwise.
It's a worry when your doctor can't find their own car, cries about it, and then runs erratically through a public place.

I found the cab rank. There were seven people waiting ahead of me. With quavery voice, I asked the elderly couple in front of me if they minded if I jumped ahead of them in the queue. The husband calmly suggested I take the same cab as they did - after all, they were going to the same suburb. I gave up on my queue-jumping plan, and stood meekly next to the very short old couple. I hoped fervently that Belly had managed to wrangle her two small children into the car, find the school gate, find a park, and meet my daughter before she became upset.

A taxi-driver leapt out of the next taxi, and spoke with the passengers ahead of me. The waiting crowd frowned, and the driver spoke with the old couple ahead of me. The small, round old man turned around. "He says he's not going to take passengers for any long distance trips," the old man informed me. "These others want the airport. You go with him".

With grateful thanks, I leapt into the cab, and we drove to Laura's school. My daughter stood chatting happily with Belly and Belly's daughters. I burst into fresh tears, before quickly controlling myself again. Laura looked puzzled. She tells me she's only ever seen me cry once before. She told me she'd been 'not one bit' worried when she'd had to wait back with the 'uncollected' children. "I knew you'd come, Mum", she soothed.

I thanked Belly for saving the day. Fatty came home and we drove to the car park. We found the car. We came back home at last. I apologised profusely. And Fatty neither laughed nor grumbled, but instead went and picked up pizza for dinner. The man's a keeper.

As you can tell, I'm feeling embarrassed and dopey. So if you have any stories you'd like to share involving lost cars, crying for no good reason or neglecting to care for your offspring properly...... this is the place to do it. Ready, steady, go!


Redneck Mommy said...

Been there.

Done that.

But mine was worse. I absolutely, firmly believed my car stolen. So I called the coppers through my tears.

Only to have them locate said car on a different parking level.


Hormonal and stupid, twas me.

My husband was so proud.

meggie said...

I too have been there. Except my car was stolen. I managed not to cry until I got home. I know that awful panicked feeling.
I am so glad it all turned out ok in the end.

Flossy said...

Oh nothing like that, but I was asleep when my daughter fell off her horse and then didn't take a whole lot of notice of her "sore" shoulder.

She broke her shoulder.

That's child neglect...

Motherkitty said...

I have TWO stories, and I promise to keep them short and sweet.

Number one involved our flying into Nashville airport at night when it was freezing cold outside. I was left sitting in a wheelchair (prior to my knee replacement) at curbside with the luggage while husband went off to the long-term parking lot to retrieve the van. After 1-1/2 hours, I was really concerned and panicked. I finally started talking to a lady next to me and told her my concerns. She in turn told one of the shuttle bus drivers who in turn sent the troops out to search for husband. They finally picked him up in a truck and they drove him around until he found our vehicle. Seems the van was parked in between two larger trucks and he just could see our van. He finally drove up after two hours and I didn't cry, I just heaved a sigh of relief. I was worried and I was mad because I couldn't just call him to find out what was going on. That's when I decided he should have his own cell phone (I already had mine) for emergencies just like this.

Second story involves my son when he was 18 months old and daughter was a newborn. We lived in a very old Victorian house that had a broken down back porch with a coal chute. One morning I awoke rather late and found son was GONE!!! I was frantic and didn't know what to do. Here I was stuck in the house with a newborn, no vehicle (husband had it at work), and I panicked big time. The first thing I did was call husband and then I ran out back to look for son in the creek behind the house. While I was awaiting husband to come home from work, I received a call from our insurance agent. Evidently son had unlocked the back door and "escaped" out the coal chute while I was asleep and followed a dog. He was found about four blocks from our house and was taken to the sheriff's office where they tried to find out who the cute little girl belonged to. Our insurance man just happened to be in the courthouse and informed everyone that this was a boy not a girl. He was nice enough to bring son home where upon both of us broke down in wrenching tears. I think I probably would have been charged with neglect and endangerment of a child if that happened today. Too scary for words.

Mimi said...

First of all I would only respect your *humaness* more as a doctor and probably like you all the more. Secondly, my mom left me at a gas station while she drove merrily down the highway when I was 13 and it was just the two of us on a long road trip. I just waited patiently and sure enough she returned within 20 or so minutes, absolutely hysterical. I was fine, however only now do I understand her hysteria.


Puss-in-Boots said...

I think I caught it off you, Jelly. I did the same thing only last week. Wandered aimlessly around the carpark trying to look as if I knew where I was headed...huh!

Val said...

Poor Jelly, for having to go through what is, unfortunately, a not uncommon occurence for parents. But how wonderful that your daughter has such complete (and well founded) confidence in you).

Shopping malls can throw anyone out of kilter. Normally I have an unerring sense of direction, but put me in a mall and large carparks, and I am at their mercy. Most recent example was in a small carpark in Eltham - my blogger buddy Gina was able to help me out of that one. But how easy is it to skip floors?? I did that in the Box Hill mall carpark, and was convinced the car had been stolen. Tears were not far off.

Kerri said...

Jelly, you're not pregnant, are you? :) You know how easily pregnant women cry!
I'm pretty sure you're too young for menopause....
Seriously though, I think most of us have 'lost' our cars in a car park. It's a frightening experience, and knowing your child was expecting you to come and collect her would make any mother panic. You're normal, human, sweet, and a very good mommy :)
And Fatty is a sweetheart.
Oh, and I'm sure that picturesque little village could use a wobbly-headed doctor, but she'd have to have taut thighs :)

John Cowart said...

So, I get home and Ginny asks, "Where's Jennifer? Didn't you pick her up?"

"Me, pick her up! I thought you were supposed to to pick her up".

Nobody picked her up.

After waiting along a long time, she walked home from school by herself that day.

Or, there was the time we lost our three-year-old because, while we were shopping on the ground floor, she walked into an elevator and punched the button and went up to the seventh floor.

After we and the cops searched all over for the missing child, a neighbor happened to see her wandering around the 7th floor happy as a clam, not even knowing she was lost. The neighbor knew she belonged with us and returned her.

It had never occurred to anyone to search the upper floors of the building.

Alice said...

Reminds me of a wonderful story I heard on tape from an American lady named Florence Littauer. She was talking about different personalities, and described how her personality was one that always wanted to have a party, etc. whereas her husband was the careful, organised type.

She went shopping one day and parked her car in a multi-storey carpark (just like you, Jelly). Having finished her shopping, she returned to the carpark but had no idea on which level she had left the car. Loaded with parcels, she proceeded to wander up and down the rows of cars looking in vain for her car. Being the gregarious, party girl type, she soon had several strangers also helping her. A big problem was that she and her husband each had a car, but she couldn't remember which one she had driven that day. Someone suggested that she look in her handbag for the keys and they may be able to deduce which car they belonged to. You've guessed it, she had both sets of keys in there.

Somehow they did manage to find the car, but not before she had made friends with all the strangers, and had such a good time that she thought she might just do the same thing the next

Strangely enough, when she related her afternoon's adventure to her husband he didn't see it in quite the same light. He gave her a withering look and said scathingly, "I can't believe that anyone could be so STUPID as to lose their car in the carpark!!!"

Of course, it sounded so much better the Florence told it.

Sandy said...

Been there too. After shopping one day, I looked and looked in the parking lot for my jeep. I bet I scanned every row...row after row, walking with an over-loaded buggy of groceries with ice cream, but no jeep. After a very long search in the heat, I finally went back inside and was getting ready to report my jeep stolen when I suddenly remembered that I had driven my husbands truck, and not my jeep. Talk about feeling stupid!!! I went back outside again and went right to it. Now why didn't I spot our truck in the first place? Because it was white? and I was looking for a black jeep.

Another time involves almost losing my child in Disney Land. She was barely 2 years old when she hopped onto a multiple horse drawn bus-tram like carriage. Everyone looked all Sharon. We panicked and then suddenly we heard way off in the distance this wee little small voice hollering, Bye mommy, bye daddy. What an awful feeling to see your baby being swallowed up by the crowds in the amusement park. We all took off running and finally managed to catch up to the tram after a couple of its stops. We never took our eyes off it, but just couldn't catch it in the crowds. It was one of the most frightening times of my life.

And once we were on our way to pick up my grandson, when we got stuck in traffic with no place to turn around or go. We were at a stand still because of a traffic accident. Five minutes for the bus to arrive and we were 15 minutes away. It was time to panic... We finally reached a neighbor by phone who was nice enough to meet the bus for us and to watch our grandson until we arrived 45 minutes later. Thank goodness for cell phones. I wonder how we ever got along without them.

It's nice to know Jelly, that you are just as abnormal as all the rest of us. hehehe We couldn't live with you if you were perfect. hehehe

shellyC said...

Not looking after my children properly?? Never! Where should I start. Thankfully I forget most things - the kids don't though.
Just last week I packed the whole family up and headed to a birthday party at a park. We were on time - just a week early!!!!

Remiman said...

Seems all to common a malady. I can't say I've ever had tears over it, but I've misplaced my car too many times to mention.
Also, lost my son at the faire once....Now that scared the shit outta me!

Susan said...

OMG I can't believe you did that! It is a good thing you aren't a surgeon - leaving things behind...

Just kidding of course, we have all done things like that. You are human, after all. And maybe just a little bit blonde? (no, kidding again, sorry)

TUFFENUF said...

I can't tell you how many times when I was a cop that I had to re-unite people with their cars! Many times at large shopping malls folks are SURE they parked outside the Sears store sign, only to find out later that there are two sides to that store - and they are on parked on the other side! These calls go out as "stolen car", but never once in 25 years did I ever investigate an actual grand theft auto from the mall!

thisisme said...

Oh Jelly, what an adventure. I'm so glad to see that Laura had faith in you. I have to admit to never losing my car in a carpark yet. I think I learnt carpark navigation in self defence. My mum is the first to admit that she remembers where she is parked by the colour of the cars next to her. Unfortunately it relies too much on other people. Maybe Laura will develop that survival skill too :)