Paved Paradise

Being twin-car-families with strangers in a small town can cause embarrassing wave mix-ups and serious parking lot confusion.

Lessons from the Parking Lot:

We used to have the same big old maroon buffalo ( a.k.a. GMC Suburban ) as another family here in town. Friends of the other family would mistakenly wave at me now and then. I didn't mind. It was funny to see the wavers suddenly realize they'd mis-waved. I'd smile and wave back anyhow.

Even though we never actually met, our families obviously had things in common. The other Maroon Buffalo family also had kids at Columbine Elementary School and they shared our tendency to go too long between car washes. In a moment of great confusion, I discovered one other coincidental similarity between us.

I had just dropped off a permission slip for Lucas' 4th grade field trip. On my way back out to the parking lot, I sifted through my pockets and fished out my keys. Completely on auto-pilot, thinking about my next errand and without looking down, I reflexively stuck my key in the hole and opened the door. It should have been immediately apparent. But I stood there, staring at the front seats like Laura Ingalls Wilder in a Simply Mac store. Nothing was making sense. Nothing was recognizable. "What am I looking at?"

Wrong interior. Wrong bucket seats. Wrong worn out console. 3. 2. 1. Fog lifted. "Hey ... this isn't my car." We even had the SAME KEYS as the other Maroon Buffalo family. What are the odds?

I immediately relocked and shut their door. While searching for the correct vehicle, I wondered if the other Maroon Buffalo Mom had ever done the same thing with our truck. She would have seen the goop spills -- or unidentifiable objects may have come tumbling out at her feet. Not to worry. Since we were living in parallel universes, I suspect she would have understood. We'll never know. One thing I do know, our twin key family could have really been a great scape goat for a whole lot of shoes, coats and assignments that dissapeared without explanation. "I don't know where that went. But, there's this family, they have a key to our truck ... " That handy little trump card might have been valuable, but, it went un-played.

With our twin Buffalo days now gone, I kind of miss having the other family's friends wave at us. But I must say, a parking lot is a lot less confusing when you don't have identical cars and keys in common with strangers.

Again ... what are the odds?!