Never underestimate what I can misplace

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As I may (or may not, I'm not sure) have mentioned here already, I spent last week in Portland. I was in town for work, but I was able to squeeze in a couple of dinners with friends, which was great. On Thursday, I had most of the afternoon and evening free, so I borrowed my aunt's car (a very nice 2009 Jetta) and headed to my old stomping ground in SE Portland, where I had numerous cups of coffee (and bought six pounds to bring back with me). Having made plans to meet my friend Sarah and her beautiful little girl in NW a bit after 5, I headed that way at about 4:30. I had no trouble finding the restaurant where we were set to meet, and noted with satisfaction that I was parked very close to the restaurant. (Red Onion at 23rd and Northrup, by the way--it's very good). Since I was still early to meet my friend, I wandered around for a while, then met her and her daughter.

A couple of hours later, I dropped Sarah and her daughter at the streetcar stop and walked back to where I had parked the car.

Or, where I thought I had parked the car.

I remembered thinking it was close to the restaurant. I remembered that it was in the middle of the block, in front of an apartment building. It was, in my mind, on Northrup, between 22nd and 23rd. Or maybe, just maybe, between 21st and 22nd.

Except it wasn't. And it wasn't on Marshall. And it wasn't on 22nd between the two. And it wasn't on the next block. Or the next.

Did I mention that right around the time we left the restaurant, it started to rain? How about my boots, which had started pressing on my toenail in a bruise-inducing way midway through that afternoon--did I mention that?

I walked south--Marshall, Lovejoy, Kearney, Johnson, Irving, Hoyt, Glisan. I walked north--Northrup, Overton, Pettigrove, Quinby. I walked east--22nd, 21st, 20th, 19th. I saw the highway entry ramp. Couldn't have come this far. I retraced my steps. Made sure I hit every block in between. It rained. The temperature plummeted. I shivered. I stood on corners and mashed my thumb into the panic button. Nothing.

I retraced again. I started to get texts from Simon, whom I was supposed to meet at 7:30. It was 8. I put him off. Told him I was walking to the car. Then told him I was having trouble finding the car. He texted to ask if he should drive up and get me and drive me around to look for it. Feeling super foolish, and in tears, I accepted the rescue.

I continued looking while I waited. Retraced my steps another time. Saw at least a half dozen mid-sized silver cars that could have been it, but weren't. Got rained on some more. Started feeling the need to wring out my soaked bra. Cursed myself for not wearing a coat.

Simon picked me up. Asked where I thought I'd parked. Said we should look in a grid, with a plan. I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd already done that. Realized my laptop was in the car, so if it had really been stolen, my work was all gone.

Simon and I looked for a few minutes. He was just as bad as I was with thinking every mid-sized car was a Jetta. He asked if I was sure I didn't park west of 23rd. I said I was. I never go that way. There's nothing that way.

We looked for a few more minutes. Drove up 23rd, with the intention of turning down Northrup again. Stopped at the intersection. "Is that it?"

"Where?"

"There."

A half block off 23rd, before 24th, on Northrup. Very close to the restaurant. In the middle of the block. In front of an apartment building.

Yeah. Nearly two hours of looking time. It was less than a full block from the restaurant. Right where I parked it.

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April 2012

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