I am absent-minded when I park my ride. If I am heading to the airport, hospital, shopping mall, or a work location to give a presentation I usually space out where I left my wheels. It is actually a little embarrassing.
I have had enough of walking through parking lots or garages with my hand in the air pushing the lock button and waiting for the horn to sound. Sometimes I end up hitting the panic button and waiting for the full cacophony of headlights and horns and discover that I am on the wrong level. That leads me to my next mystery, did the sound come from the level above or the level below? I am hoping that someone reading this post is thinking “Oh yeah, I have done that!”
I have begun using the camera on my iPhone to record where I have left my Jeep. This usually means that the clue to the location of my car is just a few swipes away in the picture folder on my phone. An example to the left is of the long-term parking garage at the Norfolk International Airport. I snapped that on my last business trip out to San Antonio. That was only an overnight trip, and I had to pull out the phone at baggage claim to remind me where I had left the Jeep the previous morning. (The airline made me check my small suitcase because the overhead compartments were almost nonexistent on the flight from Charlotte to Norfolk.)
On Friday, 22 December, I had an appointment at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia. I arrived to find the communal garage pretty full, even for the Friday before Christmas.
After circling the first and second levels for a few minutes, I finally found someone pulling out of a spot. Once in the parking space, I mindlessly pulled out my phone and snapped a photo of the closest location sign to where my Jeep sat waiting for me. I heard a small laugh behind me. When I turned around a woman, walking in the same direction as I, looked at me and smiled. I was busted getting my photographic waypoint before heading for my outpatient procedure. “That is actually a good idea,” she said. We chatted as we headed to the elevator about the joys of the times when we had not remembered where we parked. It is easy enough to do in some of the larger parking lots or multiple story parking structures that have become ubiquitous in modern life.
As I waited for orthopedics to see me, I scrolled through my phone and found about two dozen shots of parking lot location signs from all over the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. There are also shots of street signs and neighborhood streets in Savannah and Washington, D.C. where I have found on street parking.
You may think that I am a forgetful middle-aged man who is overly reliant on a photographic prompt to find my car. But next time you are wandering from row to row trying to find your wheels in stormy weather or dragging luggage behind you, I will be making a beeline for my Jeep, currently parked on Level 3, Aisle D. Safe travels, my friends!