Little did I know, when the phone rang Thursday evening, that I would spend the next 24 hours driving 840 miles and stealing my mother's car.
The call was from a state trooper who said he was from Buffalo and he had my mother with him. It seems he had found her sitting in her car in the breakdown lane of the NY Thruway. She seemed a bit confused, so he had taken her to the station. My name was in her address book, so he called me.
Buffalo? She was driving that day, as she does every Thursday, from New York City up to her house in NW Connecticut. Somehow she ended up in Buffalo. Parallel error, I guess. Also, she clearly needs some pacing practice as she drove for about 8 hours instead of the normal 2. An O' error that certainly surpasses any I can claim credit for. And, in the best orienteering fashion, she had no idea how it had happened.
So Gail and I were off at 4 am, got to Buffalo about 10:15, retrieved her car from the towing company, retrieved my mother from the hospital (prison, she called it, and it took a bit of patience with the system to get her out) where they had taken her to be checked, and headed back to her home in Connecticut.
At some point I had to resume the inevitable conversation, the one we have been having for the past few months about the state of her driving (she is 86). This little journey (thank goodness she ran out of gas or who knows where she might have ended up), plus several fender benders in the past few months, seemd to make it clear that she shouldn't be driving. I got her to agree, but knowing that what's said one day may not be what's done the next, it seemed necessary to do a bit more. So the car is now locked away in my sister's garage. Various arrangements have been made to get her driven whereever and whenever she needs. And she somewhat accepts that.
A very stressful day. Numerous consultations with my brother and sister about what to do and how to do it. And hoping we have done the right thing.
We finally crashed at Charlie and Rhonda's, a haven for the needy if there ever was one.
If I ever manage to overrun a control by an hour (though Charlie disagrees and says I ought to allow at least a couple hours, you just never know...), or miss my destination on the roads by 400 miles, I hope some friend will have the sense to take my O' gear or my car keys. And I hope I will have the sense to thank them.