I'm afraid it's chronic June 11 2017 1 Comment

It is no secret that I have an as yet unnamed, undiagnosed condition.

As soon as I enter an indoor parking lot my brain shuts down, and I can no longer think or make sense of anything.

Years ago when my son was still a preteen, he was making his first flight to see his grandparents in New Brunswick by himself.

I decided to leave the car in the parking garage in the Toronto airport while I escorted him into the terminal, to see him through security. He didn’t think he needed help, but I was insistent.

Even before we entered the garage he asked me if I was sure I would be able to find my way out.

“Of course I can.” He questioned me again and again. “Do you know how to get back to the car? . . . Are you sure you can find the car?”

I kept saying “Yes, I am fine.  . . . I know where the car is.  . . .  Don’t worry about me.  . . . I know what I’m doing.”

I teased him about trying to parent me.

Even as I waved to him as he went through security, he was calling, “Are you sure you can find the car?”

“Yes, don’t worry. Have fun.”

My son was in New Brunswick before I found the car and left the garage.

Last weekend, I made a one-night trip to Edmonton. I decided to drive myself and leave the car in the airport parking garage. As soon as I drove in, I felt the symptoms of my peculiar condition overtake me. Panic, disorientation, sweaty palms, talking to myself, I was unable to tell which way the arrows were pointing, or even comprehend what “out” meant.

I accidentally found a parking spot, but I had no idea where I was, or where to find the exit to the terminal.

Parked, I photographed the post displaying the number of my parking spot. I took a photo of a post saying what floor I was on. I stepped back from the car and took a picture so I could recognize it when walking back towards it.

I walked away from the car then, though I had no idea if I was going the right way.

But, I was able to ask a nice gentleman unloading bags from his car if he knew where to go. He laughed and told me to go straight ahead, that the bridge to the terminal was on the right. He even pointed and asked if I saw it. I did.

I thanked him, just as I noticed the big sign with an arrow saying  “Terminal 1” right over my head.

I continued on with as much dignity as I could muster, to a very large glass lobby area, mentally registered that it was the entrance to the terminal – and kept on going, right past it.

My helpful fellow traveller started calling, “Hey, HEY, STOP!”

“Come back! The entrance is here.”

Oh dear. I’d done it again.

I thanked him. Tried to laugh it off and moved into Terminal 1 as quickly as possible, thinking I could outrun my embarrassment.

The next day, on my return, I took the wrong bridge back into the garage. Not only did that put me at the wrong end of the structure, it deposited me on the wrong floor.

Once on the correct floor (I have no comment about how long that took), I knew my parking spot was D35.

Never mind that it didn’t look right and I didn’t recognize anything. I assumed my condition caused me to forget what it looked like. When I finally found D35 someone had moved my car and put theirs in its place.

I took out my phone. Looked at the picture to prove my point and found that I actually parked in spot B45.

I am not going to describe the 10 minutes at the exit trying to put my paid parking stub into the credit card slot. Or how it was rejected from four different machines before I realized the machines weren’t broken. I learned that it’s not easy backing out of the exit lanes and trying to drive from one machine to another. And other drivers don’t seem to appreciate the expert maneuvers required to accomplish the feat.

I am afraid my parking garage condition is chronic. As yet, no medications or treatments have been developed. But, as always, I live in hope.

I don't have an art piece depicting a parking garage so I am showing you my "Raging glory" painting: a seascape with angels, people, creatures and other mysteries hidden in the waves and sky.

You can see my "Raging glory" painting here.

You can see all my paintings here.

Check out Glass by Charis pieces here

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