“Was it turn left at the fountain or the fountain was on my left. Would it still be on my left, or should I look right?” I switched my packages to the other arm as I wandered Old Orchard Mall hunting for my lost car.
Often times my car was lost, but generally that was because I was driving it. Now it was lost in a sedentary state . . . a parking state. . . taunting me as it ducked down between two of the bazillion other parked cars.
A false confidence rooted in my fourth visit to Old Orchard Mall had caused my predicament. I had successfully parked in the lower level “green garage” next to Macy’s and successfully returned to my Acura without a hitch.
Since I needed to return dresses to both Nordstrom’s and Bloomingdale’s on opposite ends of the shopping center, I chose to park midpoint between the two stores in a different spot. Then I would save fifteen minutes walking time. Instead I wasted ninety minutes wandering time searching for the elusive vehicle.
Arriving with a full bladder, I had hurriedly parked the car in the near empty lot noting an arrow labeled “Nordstrom’s”. After passing two such signs I realized I had been duped into thinking my destination near.
I forged ahead toting a full shopping bag and made mental notes so I could backtrack and retrieve my car. My internal conversation on the way to Nordstrom’s went something like this:
Me 1: It’s farther than I thought, but I’ll just remember my way back.
Me 2: That never works. You should have parked in the green garage next to Macy’s.
Me 1: Too late now. I have to use the bathroom and all the stores are closed. Nordstrom’s will be open when I get there. I just have to remember these few clues:
Pass the fountain; Stop and face Macy’s; Triangulate with Bloomingdale’s; Curve past the Cheesecake Factory; Turn by Francesca’s with the cute spring dresses in the window; Pivot by Northface that has a 40% sale on all fleeces; Exit Nordstrom’s by the shoe department. Nothing too it!
Me 2: I won’t hold my breath.
Fortunately Me 2 didn’t hold her breath because she would have passed out in front of Cinnabon waiting for Me 1 to find our car. My internal conversation on the way from Nordstrom’s went something like this:
Me 1: I exit by the shoe department.
Me 2: There are two exits. Is it the one by the boot sale or the seasonal sandals?
Me 1: I’m not sure. Maybe the sandals one.
Me 2: Maybe is not going to get you to the right place.
Me 1: Definitely the sandals exit. I remember the gold flip flops, or was it the flannel lined Uggs? No, the sandals.
Me 2: This is off to a bad start.
Me 1: Which store had the sales? It looks like they all have sales!
Me 2: Then there was the restaurant.
Me 1: Yes, I remember the restaurant. It was Cheesecake Factory or Corner Bakery.
Me 2: You aren’t sure?
Me 1: It began with a “C.” I know. I’ll just follow the Nordstrom’s arrow signs in reverse.
Me 2: Will you walk backwards?
Me 1: Don’t be sarcastic. See Macy’s is right here. I’ll just triangulate with Bloomingdale’s and the exit to the parking lot where my car is. Wait, where’s Bloomingdale’s? I don’t remember this playground.
Me 2: Macy’s has more than one entrance. I TOLD you this never works!
A mall directory with a map flanked the exit. An orange dot with a “You are here” caption offered meager aid. I didn’t’ need a “You are here” caption. I needed a ‘You were there” caption. Better yet, I needed a “Your car is here” caption.
I retreated to a nearby bench and considered my options:
- Walk around the parking in a systematic fashion until I find my car.
- Call Security and have them drive me around the parking lot until I find my car.
- Wait until mall closing time and my car will be the only one left.
- Press the panic button and follow the alarm in a “Marco Polo” game with my car.
Before listing “5” my synapses sparked and a past conversation with my son, Jack, surfaced. Jack, appalled at my tech inability, (I’m a one-fingered keyword Tweeter.)had offered hints to help me along. One was about finding your parked car using an iPhone. I Googled just that and sure enough there it was!
Through divine intervention, I had the right apps and right settings in place. And there, right on the screen, a blue pulsating dot indicted me 500 feet from my car!
Within a few minutes I found my MDX. I shoved my Nordstrom’s bag inside and retrieved the Bloomingdale’s items I needed to return. I reentered the shopping center, but not until I had taken this photo.