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Archive for November, 2018

This was not the first time I had roamed a parking lot seized with fear that my missing car was stolen, but not for over half an hour. I called my son Jason.

“Why are you calling me? If your car is stolen you should be calling the police. WAIT! Are you sure where you left it?”

“Yes, in front of World Market, pulled all the way through so I wouldn’t have to back out—just as AARP Safety Course teaches. After I left there I walked to Marshall’s, Ross, Sally’s, and SteinMart.”

“Are you sure it’s not there? Go look again and call me back. I’m on my way.”

I had scanned every car in front of World Market twice and none were mine, but I looked again. My stomach growled. Nothing since a 250 calorie breakfast and it was going on six o’clock. I gnawed open the pack of cheese sticks from SteinMart as I made the rounds again. My fingers turned yellow.

I went back in the store and asked for the manager. He had heard of no car thefts in that shopping center, but he called Sanford P.O.’s non-emergency line for me. Handed me his phone. They want a description, make, color etc. I relayed all that, telling them to look for the big “Who are you calling a Sea Cow?” manatee sticker on the back windshield. There are scads of gold Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs in the area. She wanted to know if I’m behind on my payments. Told me it may have been repossessed. No! Paid for long ago. Then she asks for my license number. I dug it out knowing I’m in trouble. In normal circumstances I get Alphabet Tourette’s Syndrome, but with my car being in who knows what chop shop the affliction threatened to hit double time. Thank God I had no Fs, Ps or Ss in my tag number.

“We are sending a patrol car over.”

The next call is from a male officer. “What are you wearing?” In my agitated state, it took a minute to realize he only wanted to recognize me.

“ORANGE, a bright orange sweater!” There must have been a reason I pulled out a top I haven’t worn in a year from of a drawer this afternoon. Maybe I was grasping for comfort, but maybe someone was looking out for me. It gets a little woo woo here, but I swear I thought of how perfect orange would be to identify me that morning while slipping it on, but flicked that thought aside.

I stood out front with the setting sun angled right in my face. Sweat beaded on my upper lip. A patrol car pulled in front—and whizzed right by me! Then another pulled to the curb, stopped, and rolled his window down a tad, teasing me with a small stream of cool air while he asked all the same questions. He said they had four patrol cars looking for my car. FOUR! That must mean there had been problems around there. He finally offered to let me get in and ride around with him to look for it. I slid onto the cool, vinyl seat and directed the cold air vent to my face.

“Where did you go first after leaving World Market?”

“Marshall’s.”

“And you didn’t drive down there?”

“No,” I pointed to my fitness band, “I was trying to get steps in for today.”

We had driven down only two rows when his police radio crackled. A woman’s voice said, “I found it.”

“She found it? And the thief? Where?” I hoped it hadn’t been wrecked or used in a crime and impounded. He cut his eyes at me.

He drove a little farther and stopped in front of Marshall’s near another patrol car. To our left was my stolen car.

“I’m so embarrassed—but happy—but embarrassed.” I stammered as I got jumped out of his car clutching my keys.

What was I to do but play the elderly card? I was so certain I hadn’t moved my car hoping to get in more steps today. Well, I did get a mile and a half in at that shopping center. He and the lady cop were very gracious, but were definitely stiffling a snicker.

A big shoutout to Sanford, Florida’s courteous, helpful police force, but I hope to never see them again. There is something to be said for traveling by Uber.

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