I was standing at the back of my car when I realized it wasn’t my car and I had no idea where my car was. Then a feeling of panic rose up through my innards and my heart skipped a beat. That ever happen to you?
See, we were leaving a hotel one recent morning with all of our stuff in tow. Big suitcase, little overnight suitcase, little cooler — you never know when you might need a soda — my quilt designed red bag that holds medicines and extra goodies in case of a nuclear attack, a portable DVD player in case nothing is on the zillion channels offered by the hotel, the laptop to keep in touch with the world, well, you’ve been there I’m pretty sure. Coming out into the crisp nearing-fall air we’re loaded down and ready to load our car and head for home. That’s when I had that “holy cats where is my car?” episode.
I have no idea what my license plate number is. We used to have a vanity plate but recently we let that go and now we just have a jumble of letters and numbers. As I stood there looking directly at the license plate of the van I was standing behind, I knew it should be mine. I was standing where I left it. There was no other van around that was white and looked like mine. Skippity skip went my heart.
I did that slow turn all the way around, kind of nonchalantly like I was just seeing what I could see as to not alarm my other half who was wrangling his share of our menagerie. Nope, no other car. I knew this was where I parked. In this spot. In this hotel parking lot. Bumpity bump — my heart jumped again and my upper lip grew little beads of sweat as I stood there confused with my suitcase at my side ready to be loaded in the back of my van. Which was, again, not where I left it.
I know my car. It has Nevada plates on it. It’s white. It was covered with bugs after a long trip through a farm/ranch area where bugs abound boundlessly. But as I stood there looking at the plate of this van, it looked nothing like a Nevada plate. I couldn’t read or I didn’t take enough time to read the state of this plate. But I would have bet my suitcase full of dirty clothes it wasn’t a Nevada plate. It wasn’t that pretty Lake Tahoe blue and summer cloud white.
Then I took a breath and really looked at the plate. It all came together when I took the time to read the license plate holder holding the license plate which covers the word “Nevada.” It reads: “Professional Marshmallow Roaster.” It was then I realized I was standing at my car. I mean really — who else would have a white van parked in the spot I parked in the night before with numbers and letters on the plate and a license plate holder that touts the driver of said van is a professional marshmallow roaster except yours truly?
This all took about 10 very long, very quiet, very self-doubting seconds. I tell you this story because I don’t feel I’m the only one this 10 seconds has happened to. Maybe not the possible loss of a car. Maybe it was you went through an eatery drive-through and as you pulled around to pay you get this sinking feeling you haven’t got enough money and you can’t back out because there are like three cars behind you! Your heart does that skippity skip, your skin does this forward march up over your scalp, then you see enough money is in your hot little hand and you can relax. Ah, you breathe deeply and sigh!
These are panic moments. We all have them. This is my Trina reasoning for why we have them. It’s old school so I hope you can relate. In the days when cars had carburetors occasionally some sort of stuff would build up in the engine and you would need to go out and run the car really fast to “blow out the exhaust.” (Uh, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) Well, that’s what your heart needs to do every so often. It goes day in and day out pumping along happily and sometimes some regular stuff needs to be blown out of your exhaust pipes. So you get these little panic moments, your heart skippity skips, pipes are cleared by the sudden rush of fuel then, again, you breathe, sigh and all is right with the world. Life is one exciting pipe clearing moment after another.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really!