So it was
So we went in covered a few stores and bought the t-shirts. It was almost lunch time and we were hungry and wanted to get back quickly. So we came out and I walked straight to where I
Which reminds me this was not really the first time this had happened, this has happened many times earlier but within 5 mins I would find my car. Truth be told usually my wife would locate the car as she used to remember where we parked much better than me. Last time I really struggled was almost an year back in the exact same place by a strange coincidence. It was the Thanksgiving day 2016, the day means something to lot of people but for so many of us its the day for retail shopping where retailers give massive discounts on some products which some sensible careful shopper utilize well to get good deals, but most of us just go crazy and buy lot of junk. So on thanksgiving day 2016, here I was looking to buy suitcase for the trip to India that weekend. Rest of the family was already in India and since I did not have too many vacation leaves that year had to follow them after a few weeks. I did get a good deal and picked a big suitcase and a smaller suitcase. I was carrying both suitcases and came out to parking area and realized I had no clue where I had parked my car. I did walk around for 15 mins but it was November and the weather was beautiful and at no point was I unduly worried. I was frustrated at not being able to locate my car quickly and lugging two suitcases (even though they had wheels) did not make the matters easy. I had a rough idea about how much distance I would have walked to the door to the mall from where I parked so using that as guideline. I slowly started walking through each and every likely row of parked cars and kept pressing my car key and in sometime spotted my car. After getting back I started thinking won't it be wonderful if there was mobile app which tracks where you parked your car. Upon checking I was not surprised to find that there were hundreds of apps. But remembering to use it was always going to be a challenge unless you rely on google which for sure never stops tracking you ( Yeah I know you do track everything). The Google maps app lets you mark the place where you parked as well but was not very easy to use. Long story short there are apps if you feel you always forget so that's longer an excuse, but didn't seem to score well in easy of use.
Back to the present, initially it was amusing to start wandering in circles in exactly the same place as last year - proper DeJa Vu. Last time I was on my own but this time I had my wife who is usually better organized and composed in such situations. So I told her how I did it last time and mentioned how much distance approximately I would have walked from where I parked the car to the door through which I entered the mall today. So we split up and approached from opposite ends and started going through each row to identify the car.Then I saw another couple wandering around like me totally lost and pressing their key, they used the 'panic' button and few rows away their car started emitting loud beeps and owners and vehicle were reunited. I tried doing the same on my car key and again nothing, so maybe I was out of range. I kept doing this for a while now and completed all the rows where I suspected I could have parked. By now I was covered with sweat not just from wandering under hot sun but more from dread as the panic button thing was the last step and usually always works as long as you are somewhere in the vicinity of the vehicle. By now I was seriously considering the possibility that someone could have stolen the car, I could feel my heart beating faster and things were getting a bit woozy as I could not think of any other possibility. Auto theft was supposed to very very rare here. It was open parking but this was a good decent suburb of Dallas and this city was supposed to be 2nd most safest city in the state and in top-20 safest cities in the country. So it did not really make any sense, maybe if I was dumb enough to leave my keys in ignition or drop it near the car someone could have tried to steal it. But stealing car in such a public place would be stupid but you never know maybe some dumb guys decided to try their luck and picking an ordinary everyday car might make sense. I started walking back into the mall thinking about what I need to do next. The first step I thought would be to go to the mall authorities and alert them and ask them to call cops maybe and then book a cab for my wife to go back home and then ... Before I could go forward with that line of thought my wife came running towards me and told me we were not searching in the right place. She said she was positive we have come out of a different exit from the mall and we are nowhere near where we parked. Suddenly a feeling of relief washed over me within a second I felt better and from a worried frown sported a sheepish smile.
We went back into the mall through JC Penney store which itself was very huge and had 5-6 different entry/exit doors, all doors and signs outside looked alike but it didn't take much effort to find the section of the store through which we had originally entered a couple of hours back and I went out into the parking area and easily spotted my car and my breathing became normal again
I think I had wandered around for 20 mins looking for my car and it was easy to laugh it off and with most problems we ignore when we solve it. I did try to take some positive steps like clicking a pic of the row number to spot where I park. I do the clicking pic part every time I park my car in airport multi-level parking as there is no way I will spot my car otherwise and it could take the whole day to locate the car in such places if you have no clue! What really scares me is the scenario where I forget to take the pic and then run around, though we all like to avoid being too dependent on technology I'm now veering towards grudgingly accepting some tech solution. I'm going to find some way for my phone to track where I park my vehicle and then to tell me how to get to my car when I ask it next time I forget where I parked. Maybe we will soon have a way to speak into your phone and say "Ok Google / Alexa / Siri where did I park my car?" ...At least until we get into autonomous cars or partially autonomous cars and that day does not seem to be very far away either!