Written By:  Leslie Means

Whenever Kyle and I take a trip, he usually drives and I use the time to get lost in my surroundings.  I simply don’t pay attention to directions.  I don’t pay attention when I’m driving either.  Sometimes this gets me into trouble. 

OK.  It always gets me into trouble. 

Last week, I ventured to the state fair by myself for a work requirement.  I set out on the road that morning with a large cup of coffee and a full 45 minutes of classic Bon Jovi music and my own thoughts. 

It was glorious. 

By the time I arrived at the state fair, my mind was rolling in a million different directions.  I hopped out of my silver car – nicknamed Victor – and headed to my destination.  Unfortunately, I didn’t pay attention to one minor detail; where I parked my car. 

I knew I parked in a gravel lot and that I was about 7 or 8 cars in.  Yes, that was good enough to find my way back.

It wasn’t.

5 hours later when I was ready to leave, I ran into a road block.  I couldn’t find my car.  At first, it was a pleasant search.  I sang along to the catchy Nebraska State Fair tune that was playing over the loud speakers, thinking it would only take a few moments until I ran into Victor.  But after I heard the Nebraska State Fair song repeat itself about 10 times, I knew I was lost. 

Really lost.

Suddenly, I was cursing that song under my breath wishing I could throw a rock at the speaker to make it stop.  I felt like a rat in a maze.  Every direction I turned seemed to make me more confused.  The temperature soared to over 100 degrees and I was wearing jeans.

On my journey, I passed a woman 2 or 3 times who also seemed lost.  As we crossed paths for the third time, I smiled and asked if she was lost, too.  Her response was in a different language, so I’m not certain if she was sympathizing with me or making fun.  Probably a little bit of both. 

I made a mental note to brush up on my Spanish. 

After I hit the 15 minute mark I decided to ask for help.  I went to one of the volunteers who had been watching me pace the parking lot and asked if she knew where traffic was routed earlier in the morning.

“Nope,” she said.  “You lost your car?  That sucks.” 

“Yes, I realize that.  Thanks.”  She wasn’t very pleasant.   

I began hitting the panic button on my car key, certain it would alert me to my location.  After a few minutes I heard an alarm go off.  My heart raced and then sunk once again when I realized the woman I had passed earlier was headed to the car that was beeping.

It was a low point.  I thought seriously about sitting down beside a car and just waiting for the afternoon traffic to clear out.

After 30 minutes of searching, I swallowed my pride – I didn’t have much left at this point, anyway – and called my brother-in-law for help. 

“You know you’ll never hear the end of this one,” he laughed.

He found me, wandering around in row J. 

“Ah!  The rows were marked with letters.  That would have been a good detail to notice,” I thought to myself. 

Once up in his truck, I realized there was a large paved lot hiding the gravel lot where I parked my car.   It only took a few minutes until I was reunited with Victor.

When I finally reached my vehicle, I was hot, tired and thoroughly embarrassed.

“I promise I’m not a ditz,” I exclaimed to my brother-in-law.  “I just didn’t pay attention.”

“You know there’s an app for that,” he laughed.  “You should have that on your phone.”

“Now you tell me,” I said in an annoyed tone.  “That would have been helpful to know before I got lost in a parking lot.” 

But deep down, I knew that wasn’t a true statement.  Even if I had the app I’m sure I would have passed over the instructions on how to use it.  Some details aren’t worth cluttering my mind. 

Read other stories from Leslie in the Kearney Hub. 

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Have you ever been lost in a parking lot?  Like, really -really lost!?  Please tell me yes! 

Leslie Means

Leslie is the co-founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have two pretty fantastic little girls ages 8 and 6 and one little dude born March 2017! When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.