A Lock-Out Day
It was a locked-out day.
I made my list of errands to complete before venturing out into my new neighborhood. First, I deposited the daily trash in the dumpster a block from my apartment. I drove because the walk was too exhausting and proceeded to the apartment’s mail center.
Last week I experienced crippling chest pain when I tried to walk to the center. Today I was taking it easy. The mail center opens with a magnetic fob when it is pressed against the handle. Today the light on the door remained red indicating that it was locked. I went to the office and asked if the mail room was opened. The staff said it was and suggested I try it again. Since I’d repeat the procedure three times already, I didn’t anticipate any success.
However, as I was getting into my car, I notice another resident successfully entering the mail room. I decided to try again and still didn’t receive the green light to enter. Not wanting to push the river, I proceeded to complete my other errands.
My GPS guided me to the Costco gas station with its multiple lines 4 cars deep. I waited behind two cars occupying the current check and prepared to take my place as they moved on. It was when my car refused to move forward that I noticed a bright red Brake light on my dash. I vaguely recalled the sales representative explaining all the features of my newly leased vehicle and his words about the ‘break light’ preventing a roll forward. Yet, I couldn’t unearth his explanation to get the light to disengage and release my car.
I sat bewildered and trapped behind my steering wheel as the spaces in front of me emptied and the car occupants behind me waved their arms for me to move forward. I indicated they should move past me and realized I now occupied a new environment where the public was polite and soundless.
The women in the line next to me climbed out of her car and peered into my window offering suggestions to no avail. She finally flagged the pump attendant who asked to get behind my wheel after he signaled those behind me to move into the unoccupied spaces. With a careful, calm evaluation the attendant began pushing buttons and moving leavers. He looked at me and asked if I would shut the driver’s side door. Immediately the red light went off and the engine began to purr.
He explained that the car had a new safety feature which prevent forward movement by checking door closure and brake application. If noncompliant, the brakes were lock and the engine turn off. I was so relieved to escape my lock out I forgot to listen to the explanation for how to disengage the red light.
After filling my tank, I searched for my car keys to move forward and couldn’t find them. Locked out again. I did remember that I kept a spare set in my purse and retrieved them. Once the engine tuned on, I slowly moved forward with shaky hands to find a parking space.
The intent of my trip to Costco was to pick up my discounted RX medications. I wondered if there was some unrecognized compound within the drugs that interfered with mental acuity. My advance into elderly status could not account for my sudden brain lock out – could it?
Back in my car with my Costco loot, I prepared to return home anticipating an afternoon nap. BUT the key sat frozen in the lock and the steering wheel refused to move. Then the red lock light appeared.
My mind froze as well.
Was I being haunted?
I sat in the car with doors locked scanning the parking lot for possible assistance while performing deep breathing exercises to prevent panic.
A thought drifted into my calming brain. Call the car dealership for instructions. Thankful for my iPhone online consultant, I held the Home button until I received a text message to provide assistance and was connected to the nearest car service.
The service department was polite and clearly provided me with steps to unfreeze my car.
Released from the red ‘safety light, I slowly navigated out of the parking lot and followed the GPS guidance home.