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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Mistaken Identity

By June Calender of Big 7-0 & More

All of us have experienced inexplicable small incidents. If we're superstitious, we may attribute them to good angels, evil spirits, gremlins, leprechauns or voodoo. Or we may just shrug and shake our heads.

The slightly unstable may see signs they are becoming more unstable; the elderly can always blame incipient Alzheimer's.

Such an incident happened to someone I don't know yesterday and only I know that I caused it to happen. It's small, it's unimportant - unless the person to whom it happened is in the unstable category. It's a small story.

In our town, we have aggressive, dueling Honda and Toyota dealerships with an awful lot of both makes of cars on the roads and in the parking lots. I now have a gray Honda Civic. Although silver and white have been big best sellers, lately shades of gray have been strong.

Yesterday I went to the town library and parked in one of two or three spaces marked "Library Parking - 1/2 hour.” I also went next door to the post office and then came back to my car.

When I got in I thought, hmmm, it seems like the steering wheel is awfully close. It must be because I'm wearing this bulky winter jacket. So I moved the seat back a fair amount. Then put the key in and it didn't start. What!?

At about that time my eye fell on the side pocket and I saw some papers that weren't mine. I looked around a little more and saw an identical Honda Civic next to me. MY car!

Quickly as possible I got out of that car and into my own and drove away before someone accused me to trying to steal that other car.

About a block later, I realized that the owner of the other Civic was going to get in, find the seat too far back, wonder how on earth did that happen, have absolutely not a clue and go home feeling befuddle, cursed, or maybe just shrugging it off as not important.

To use Kurt Vonnegut's line from Slaughterhouse Five, so it goes.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Dear June,

Enjoyed your story and I agree,if I were the owner of the car I certainly would have wondered how the seat was moved while I was in the library.

Even kids understand that when strange things happen it sometimes confuses or worries a person.

When our Chris was about 10 years old, he was trying to call a friend on the phone and I heard him say," Hello, is Ludwig there? Oh, sorry,I must have the wrong number."

I asked him,"Who's Ludwig? I never heard you mention anybody by that name."

He looked at me and said,"Well, Mom, as soon as I dialed Jimmy's number I realized that I had misdialed and by that time a person had answered. I didn't want to hang up and worry them so I asked for Ludwig.I knew they wouldn't have a Ludwig so I was safe."

This happened about 45 years ago and to this day every once in a while,just for fun, one of our other kids will call Chris and say "This is Ludwig, any messages for me?"

June - Great story!

More than once, I have arrived at my black Subaru Outback in a crowded mall parking lot, confused as to why my 'yuppie bird call' was not functioning properly. Then, when the key didn't work, I realized it wasn't my car and for a fleeting moment I felt lucky to have avoided jail time for attempted theft! - Sandy

More than once, I’ve attempted to get into my husband’s grey SUV, but caught myself. My white Volvo is easier to distinguish because I usually have to search the parking lot to find it nestled between all the much bigger SUVs, trucks, etc.

So many of today’s vehicles are so similar; it’s surprising that more mix ups don’t occur.

When I had a white sentra I climbed in every white care in the parking lot of where I work more than once. It didn't even matter what make of car...white is white to me.

Since we are sharing stories, the first time it happened to me, I had already loaded the plants I had bought at the greenhouse into the back seat, got under the wheel and tried to start the car to no avail. I jumped out, retrieved the plants and hoped the owner would not see the dirt from the plants on his back seat.
That was when I was about 45 years old. I had the "wrong car" experience at least once every 3 years until I was 65. I think it has happened to me at least 3 times in 2011. Great story and reminder to pay attention to details in the parking lot. Glad I am not alone
Michigan Grandma

I‘ve tried to avoid such happenings by always driving a little more unusual car; otherwise I know it would have happened to me also. Great story. 

I'm just glad all the cars I've tried to get into were locked! I have several times wondered why my remote wasn't working, not noticing that the car two spaces over WAS chirping and flashing!

Lyn, that's the thing I was wondering about. Where did everybody live where all these cars were unlocked?

I went to LA,CA in 2004 on a book tour. I rented a white Ford. When I went to the parking lot to leave for the event, the remote didn't work. I went back inside to tell my wife we had a problem. When we came back out to try it again, it was then I noticed the other car. In fact there were three identical cars parked in a row.

When we laughed we also turned to see there were a number of identical cars in the lot. We all must have gone to the same agency.

June, you picked a good topic.

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