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I always know when I am at

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By W.B. Evans

Although Daddy would’ve argued this point some 60 years ago (at times), I’ve always prided myself in having my head on pretty straight.

I don’t get all crossed up about situations. 

Most of my miscues and snafus can be attributed to situations out of my control. This includes accidents to family members and stuff like people stealing my newspaper out of the box.

With Christmas just around the corner, guests in the house and travel plans in the works, there was already enough to make a seasoned sailor seasick. 

Now there is a little more.

I’m really startin’ to believe all of the Evanses need to stay away from ladder rungs.  

Our first-born recently tumbled while hanging Christmas garland on the porch. Springs Memorial transferred her to Carolinas Medical Center.

It’s been a few years since I visited CMC. 

That hospital has expanded by leaps and bounds. Sorta like our house, it’s been upgraded and expanded, which makes it downright confusing for  casual visitors.

Bless Pete, I sure am glad I don’t get all confused by parking decks. I reckon if you gotta get mugged, the best place is next door to a medical facility.

I never saw the sign, but my companion noted we parked on Level 4 to make it easier to find the car after our visit.

I sure am glad I have it all together. It required two elevators to get to the  11th floor.

The first one topped off at the fifth floor. I stepped off and rambled around to find one to carry me to the nosebleed floor.

Short of dropping bread crumbs behind me, I figured there would be some signs to help me find my way. Plus, I had an experienced guide so maybe I didn’t keep my eyes on which way we were going. Age does have its privileges.

When we got home that night, I almost kissed the driveway.

Since I knew where I was going and since I never get confused, I felt as if a return trip to CMS would be a piece of cake. 

The next day, I flew solo. God was not my copilot. 

If he had been, I’m sure things would have worked out much better. 

I made a wrong turn on the highway headed into the hospital, but found myself at the entrance of a parking deck.

Finding a parking space (while dodging drivers looking for the NASCAR Hall of Fame), I was lucky and carefully backed into a space designed for a compact kiddie car. 

Knowing full well to remember where I parked, I observed Level 4. 

Clutching my parking ticket I found my way down to the hospital lobby. 

Funny thing, though. 

The lobby had changed in appearance overnight. 

I stopped a young fella delivering computer printers and followed him to the proper elevator. 

Shucks, he knows what he’s doing. This elevator went straight to the 11th floor without slowing up. 

When I stopped to ask a couple of hospital employees for directions, I quickly observed they weren’t quite sure where they were, either. 

Then like a flash of light, I found my daughter’s room and sank onto a padded couch, relieved that I had finally made it.

These days, darkness comes awful quick and with the sun starting to fade, I figured maybe I should be leaving.

With confidence, luck and my uncanny sense of direction, I found myself in the parking deck on Level 4. 

Hey, my car isn’t here. I know something was up. I pressed the alarm button on my car key, but never heard a sound. 

Since men don’t need directions (we never get lost), I resolved to locate my vehicle and be on my way without asking anybody for help. Besides, a fella can get run down walking through a parking deck.

After numerous walking tours on each level, I crossed paths with a lady who was having trouble finding her car, too. We wished each other luck and went on our separate ways.

A few minutes later, an SUV stopped. It was the lady I had spoken to earlier. She offered to give me a ride around the parking levels. 

I took her up on the generous offer.

“You know, I’m too old for this,” I said. 

When she told me her age, (which was identical to mine), I changed the direction of the conversation.

Finally, she let me out at an elevator and wished me good luck. 

I told her thanks. By the time she drove away, my blood pressure was boiling and my ticker, ticking. 

I ran into a fella pushing a broom and asked him if there were other parking decks. 

“Yes sir,” he said. “Can I see the color of your ticket?” 

I fished it from my pocket and he directed me past another hospital complex. 

After a brief walk, I was ready to ask the first person I saw for help.

A young man who would have frightened me in the bowels of a parking garage became my angel and I followed him to the other parking facility. 

I found my car, climbed in and hightailed it to the pay-out window. 

When I told the attendant I had just spent about two hours in the wrong garage lookin’ for my car, she smiled.

“Don’t feel bad,” she said. “Even CMC employees got lost.” 

She refunded me the parking fee and added a “Merry Christmas” before I rolled up the window and drove away.

You know, on the next trip, I’m riding with my son-in-law. 

That way, when he gets bewildered and crossed up, at least, he’ll have some company. I’m not worried. I always know where I’m at.