How many Myers Women does it take to drive a car in my mum’s retirement town?
“Three?”, you gasp, “But how is that possible?”
Ah, well, quite possible when all three women either refuse to drive, are reluctant drivers or simply cannot drive a car at all. This is not some anti-female slur. I am simply relaying the facts.
The most important person in this triad was my sister, Elizabeth, the chauffeur by default, driving the intimidatingly large, luxury machine. Incidentally, the car’s owner was bed-ridden, suffering more over concern for his beloved vehicle than over any leg pain following major surgery.
Clutching the wheel, Elizabeth drove in circles in the parking lot until she could find a spot where she could drive straight through to the next row because she refused to back out when she left. Also, she could not seem to turn right into a narrow spot, reasoning that it was much simpler when she turned left; she was least able to see directly out her side window without relying on mirrors.
However the situation which caused most anxiety was the fact that Elizabeth was not familiar with my parents’ small retirement town in the midst of the Rocky Mountains. She constantly asked,
“But, Mum, I need the street name where I need to turn or at least an idea of how far up this main highway I have to go.”
The second most important person was my eighty- one year old mother who was not exactly sure how to answer that crucial question.
“Well, let’s see. When I walk there, I cut across the back parking lot, kitty-corner, walk for about thirty minutes, turning right and then left on a side street and there it is!”
“But Mum, is it east or west?”
“Well, I turn right after I leave the parking lot, so..um.. the street is east of here, I think. Yes, east, I am sure of it.”
“Okay. Now, do you at least remember the first letter of the street name?”
However, my mother was suddenly distracted, since her main concern was watching for on coming traffic or indeed any vehicle within blocks of us,
“Elizabeth, watch out! A car is coming!”
“Mum. Focus. Please. Is it beside any large stores like The Bay?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Okay. Try to remember the first letter of the street name.”
Now this was where I came into play as I perched on the edge of the back seat with a map, calling out suggestions,
“Perhaps it is Lancaster Avenue. Does that sound familiar, mum?”
Then I started to laugh, long and hard because this really could be a scene in a poorly written situation comedy. However this was real life and that transformed this ludicrous scene into a situation that seemed even more hilarious.
When Elizabeth started to chuckle as well, we pulled over and stopped the car. Swallowing our mirth, the three of us studied the map till my mother’s memory seemed to click back into place. We set out once again, a bit more confident of success this time.