Banjo Man and I have shared one car, a 2004 Toyota Highlander, for about four or five years now. About 95% of the time it is not a problem. And if there is one, we work around it. Sometimes I used my mother’s car, which needed to be driven at least once a week because the AAA repairman was very tired of coming to her garage to jump the battery.
There were times it was hard to remember to use that old Toyota Camry, so I would park it in my driveway in order to remind myself to drive it.
So what I’m saying is I’ve become a one-car woman.
But…with my mother having been in the hospital and now in rehab in a nursing home, I’m driving EVERY DAY. Sometimes twice a day. I. Am. On. The. Road.
Most of the time I use my mother’s Camry, but last week when heading up to the big mall in the city, I drove the Highlander just because I like driving it a lot more than the Camry. I parked outside the Starbucks entrance to Macy’s and hustled inside to buy Mom some new fleece jackets. An hour later I was back in the parking lot heading to my car.
But I couldn’t find it. I knew where I’d parked and I stood there in an increasing state of panic, muttering under my breath, unable to find my car. It finally dawned on me that I was looking for the Camry and had actually driven the Highlander, which was two cars away from me.
I felt stupid.
That was Tuesday. Fast forward to Friday afternoon. I’d made plans with my mother’s best friend who also lives at Brookdale (the assisted living facility) to pick her up and take her to the nursing home to visit with my mother. They were both looking forward to it a lot.
I parked near the entrance and went inside, only to find that Mom’s friend wasn’t ready yet. But she was on her way, they told me. So I went outside and moved the car to a spot directly in front of the front door so there would be no issues with the walker. I went back inside, gathered up Dot, got her into the front seat, folded the walker into the back seat and got into the car. Stuck the key in the ignition and nothing happened. The steering wheel wouldn’t turn and then it locked.
A nice young man who works at Brookdale came out to help me, but he couldn’t budge it either. So after finding no answers in the Toyota owners’ manual, I ended up calling AAA, who said it would be 30 minutes before they could come tow the car. So I called my daughter, who had the day off, and asked if she would come pick up Dot to take her to see Grandma while I waited for the tow truck.
In the meantime Dot, who was still in good spirits, said she couldn’t understand why the manual didn’t have an answer. “After all,” she said, “you have the right key.”
I looked down at my hand. Oh, I had the right key, all right. The right key to the Highlander.
I plucked the set of Camry keys from the pocket of my purse and stuck the key into the ignition. Presto! The car worked!
Dot was thrilled. My daughter arrived at the same time and I thanked her and sent her away with my embarrassed explanation.
You see, with Banjo Man’s infuriating tendency to lose car keys (he lost another set in September) I am paranoid about him taking my set of car keys. So I take them everywhere I go so I know exactly where they are at all times. I also have a set of keys for my mother’s car, a new back door key (Banjo Man locked himself out of the house last June and had to break down the door and install a new one), my mother’s house key and my mother’s apartment keys (her set and mine, which I keep for emergencies).
That’s a hell of a lot of keys. The purse I’ve used for three years is suddenly way too small. And a tote bag is too big.
I will also add that I was suffering from allergies and could barely function. I’d taken a 2015 Claritin (gratefully found in the recesses of the bathroom closet) and had a box of tissues on the console.
That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.
The ladies had a lovely visit and I sneaked away for a nap in the car.
I returned Dot to Brookdale, only to discover when I returned home that she had left her own set of keys in the back seat. We think they popped off the handlebar of her walker when I folded it up. Banjo Man returned them to her after dinner. I was in bed before 8 PM.
In order to avoid confusing my pitiful brain, my plan for this week is to only drive the Camry, hide the Highlander keys in my sewing box and buy a bigger purse.
If you have any other cures for a confused brain, please share.