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People over 50 increasingly encounter the same problem....our cars get lost.

At first, we think we are coming down with Alzheimer's. But one day I was standing in front of a Home Depot trying to remember where I had parked my truck, and noticed two other people of the same age staring bewilderedly into the parking lot. We exchanged glances. "You too?" one asked. "Yep." So we organized...the first person to find their car would carry the other two people around in a search of the parking lot until we had all found our cars and trucks. It was obviously not the dreaded disease of old age. It was the more common malady of post-50 called "Can't Remember Shit" or CRS.

After several years of losing cars in shopping mall parking lots, airport parking lots, and concert hall lots, it became obvious one needs a strategy to deal with this problem.

An anecdotal study of members of my generation produced numerous helpful hints to avoiding the lost car problem.

PARK IN THE SAME PLACE: One solution, insofar as possible, is to always park in the same place at each store. In order to insure a parking spot, this usually means parking far away from the store, but the walking is good.

TIE SOMETHING COLORFUL TO THE CAR: One friend carries a red ribbon around, and ties it to her door handle. Another puts a balloon on her antenna. This works, as long as someone doesn't steal the ribbon (or the car).

BUY A UNIQUE CAR: A serious problem faces those with generic cars and trucks, such as Camrys, Accords, and Ford Explorers....there will be 70 cars or trucks of the same make and color in the parking lot. Purple cars are easy to find (but get you stopped by the Border Patrol frequently).

USE YOUR REMOTE: Another friend just points his remote to the parking lot, and whichever car lights up, that's his. This doesn't help when three cars of the same make and color open up, which happens sometimes.

WRITE DOWN THE LOCATION: While this might seem an obvious solution, the problem is remembering where you put your note, especially if you've left you car at an airport and been gone for a week. One friend writes the location on the inside of his shoe, another has a post-it note tacked to his driver's license.


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Copyright 1998-2006 by Hugh Holub