My Vehicle Was Stolen – Kind Of

The afternoon started out seemingly uneventful. My agenda included getting my nails done and grocery shopping. As is typical in South Carolina, the temperature hovered in the upper 90’s.

I walked into my into my nail salon, anxious to get a much needed tune up. My nail attendant (what do I call this person?) hovers nearby- why must I feel pressure when pondering if You’re a Pisa Work or Pink Flamenco will be the color of the week? The color selection is not mind boggling, it can just become overwhelming looking at 100 bottles of nail polish.

With sparkling, freshly painted nails featuring OPI’s Pink Flamenco, I prance into Publix to pick up a few easy to pick up items without messing up my nails. Making it cleanly through the check-out without smudges, I was delighted.

Walking out of Publix I realized immediately I had not a clue where I parked this morning. I failed LT’s number one rule in a woman’s first line of self defense. Always be aware of your surroundings.

LT’s #1 concern has always been my personal safety. He stresses the importance of women to remain alert at all times: at the gas pumps, the ATM, or as, right now, walking to my car with a grocery cart.

Because of my “training,” I take note of the numerical row I park in, 99% of the time. Subsequently, when I walk out into the sea of vehicles I know where to go.

This is a straightforward, easy-to-remember plan. This morning I forgot.

I push my cart walking confidently across the lot toward the myriad of black SUVs in the horizon. My little inner voice reassuring me, telling me one of them HAS to be mine. NOT.

Casually enough, I take a “what looks like” a planned 45 degree turn. and head toward the Chinese restaurant end of the strip shopping center. I feel the perspiration roll down the center of my chest, yet I remain calm as I see a black SUV in the row in front- I breathe a sigh of relief simultaneously zapping the unlock button on my key chain.

Not only was said vehicle not mine, I hit the panic button instead of the unlock button in my urgency to claim a home. I quickly squelched the panic alarm. Turning for the third time, I somehow manage to walk, with my head high and my shoulders back, toward from whence I came: Publix.

I now considered the real possibility that my vehicle had been stolen. Digging out my iPhone, I pondered over an opening line to prepare LT for said vehicle theft. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a large truck going down one lane over.

A flashback to the Dukes of Hazard hits as suddenly, the DoH truck pulls up next to me. A young girl leans out the window of this monster truck 80′ off the ground, and says, “You lost yer car, little lady?” I was tempted to say, no I am running parking lot relays prepping for the big event next week, the Publix 500. Instead, I meekly replied, “yes.” Mr Dukes of Hazard driver leans over and asks the specifics of my vehicle.

In about eight seconds, he leans over and says, “honey, yer car is sitting over there right in front of that foreign nail place.” You know my reaction. I tone down my need for a complete break down of appreciation. I am able to suppress my instinctual southern need for explanation with a simple thank you.

They both smiled, he tipped his hat and they rode off into the sunset.

I continued my confident walk, now my fourth time across the lot to my chariot, waiting for me “in front of the foreign nail place.”