Temperatures had barely climbed above zero all week, and since I'd just returned from vacation at a Florida beach, I was struggling to stay out of hibernation mode. I was very grateful that Senior had installed a remote start on my Buick as a Christmas present. At the end of a long work day I hit the button and let the car warm up as I wrangled myself into gloves, boots and coat. It was late, and most of my co-workers had already left for the day. I was distracted as I picked my way across the icy parking lot, repeating my usual winter mantra of “don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall”, but I did notice that I’d left my wipers on intermittent mode. I said a mild curse under my breath and hoped they hadn’t been iced up, afraid I would find a strip of rubber left behind as they skimmed over the windshield. By the time I got to the car I was cold and cranky. I reached out and yanked open the door handle. What happened next scared me to the point that I nearly wet my pants.
HOLY CRAP, THERE WAS A MAN SITTING IN MY FRONT SEAT!!!
It’s amazing how quickly our brains can process high stress situations. In rapid fire succession I realized:
a) I knew this guy
b) This WASN’T MY CAR
c) This didn’t even look like my car
d) The driver had noticed my approach and even lowered the window to see what I wanted (a fact that totally escaped me as I opened the door)
e) I was about to die from embarrassment
I stammered out an apology while, thankfully, he just laughed. I’m pretty sure I made an uncomfortable joke about it being a good thing I didn’t try to sit on his lap, then my brain kicked into escape mode and I slinked off to find my (real) car. It was parked a couple spots further away. I got in and slumped down to try and disappear, peeking in the side mirror until I was sure he had left before getting my act together and driving home.
I really need to get back to the beach.