A few days ago my partner Larry and I returned from a two week trip to London and Northern Ireland--more about that in other postings. We'd left on the morning of the monster storm--had actually changed our flight to beat it--and were dreading we'd find the car (parked in an Economy lot) buried deep in a mountain of snow and would have to tunnel into the trunk by hand to extract the shovel we'd been clever enough to bring. As per my usual routine on transatlantic flights, I'd had my fair share of 'gratis' chardonnay and was in high spirits on arrival, breezed through customs without my sister, Deirdre's, homebaked fruitcake and my mother's Irish sodabread being confiscated--and swept out the revolving door to the cold Newark, NJ air.
As feared, the problem indeed proved to be the whereabouts of the car, though not due to a plethora of indistinguishable, dirt-covered snowmounds. You see, both of us are geographically challenged and, while we'd diligently recorded the car's position in the long stay parking lot, we'd forgotten the rows were enormous and were thus obliged to charge about like maniacs, Larry pressing vigorously on the car's panic button. All to no avail, naturally. Panic buttons NEVER work when needed. In the end, convinced we'd never find it, Larry sought the help of a passing, friendly bus driver who, like him, was Puerto Rican and the two set off on a late night jaunt of the parking lot conversing in Spanish like old friends just reunited while I guarded the luggage. I watched the bus slowly cruise the rows of cars like the shark in Jaws. Finally it drew to a stop, out Larry came, and I heard the sweet, shrill cry of the blaring horn. So the only thing lost irrecoverably was the fuzzy lift I'd got from my Virgin Atlantic chardonnay.