Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? Part III

Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? Part III
If you are over fifty, and have not realized that your mind is leaving you, perhaps the circumstances or situations have not been favorable to cause you to notice this phenomena.

For me, a ride on a barren interstate, car set in cruise and the radio playing oldies music provides the perfect setting for a mind-losing experience.

Such was the case this past summer as I was heading north on I 99 to Altoona for one of my many doctors' appointments. I was trying desperately to sing along with The Left Banke's Just Walk Away Renae, when I realized I had passed up all three Altoona exits. (Incidentally, does anyone know the lyrics other than the chorus part of that song?)

The four-mile ride to the Pine Croft Exit would not have bothered me nearly as much as it did if this journey had been my first. But I had gone to Altoona by way of Pine Croft dozens of times previously.

Momentarily, I contemplated a "U" turn through the grass median, but a ticket from a state trooper the summer before, quickly brought me back to the realization that the detour was my best bet.

Almost missing my exit again, while heading south, I did manage to make my appointment, and I was only about 20 minutes late.

After the examination, I made an urgent B-line to the restroom in the Station Mall before making the trip home. As cool as a cucumber, and about as intelligent too, I opened the door, walked in and said, "hello" to the LADY washing her hands at the sink.

"I think you may be in the wrong lav!" she said with a surprise on her face.

I suddenly lost my urge and headed for the car with a large grin on my face. "Wait till the Mrs. hears about this!" I thought.

I decided to stop in at the 17th Street Sheetz convenience store for a cup of coffee on the way home. Yes, after the Ohio trip I became a coffee drinker.

Laughing to myself about the women's rest room incident, I pulled into the drive-through lane and was prepard this time to place my order. The problem was, that a computer instead of a voice from within the store greeted me.

Unable to read the directions without my reading glasses, there I was pushing buttons, re-pushing more buttons, and uttering a few choice words. Finally, I heard a voice coming from the box. "Welcome to Sheetz' new push button service! Can I help you?"

Begging the guy to "just take my order," I found him unwilling to do so. So, I finally drove around the store, went inside and ordered my coffee the old fashioned way.

When I got home, and relayed the mind-losing experiences to my wife, she shook her head in disbelief. "I am beginning to worry about you," she added. "You could have been arrested as some sort of pervert, walking into that ladies' rest room."

Unfortunately, she was correct, and it was embedded in my mind a month later as I headed to Altoona again for another checkup. This time, I had two appointments scheduled two blocks apart, for the same morning. And I hoped to stop at Lowes on the way home.

That's quite a bit to keep straight for a mind that is half lost so I tried desperately to keep my mission on the fore front of my frontal lobe.

I parked at the station mall, by way of Pine Croft again, locked the car doors and climbed out of the car. Then I realized that I was in the wrong parking lot for my first appointment. I still wonder how I looked to observers when I unlocked the door, hopped back in the car and drove off.

After an uneventful appointment at the cardiologist's, I drove back to Ninth Avenue to the Station Mall for my family doctor appointment. As far as I recall, it went okay, without any hitches. Until I tried to exit the lot, where I found myself in the drive-through, take-out line of McDonald's. Don't ask me how I got there I have no idea.

"Back up," I thought. But I couldn't. Two cars appeared out of nowhere behind me.

To make matters worse, my attention to the rear view mirror and the cars behind me, caused me to float right by the ordering box. I was in limbo, between two windows, couldn't back up, couldn't go forward, and wanted nothing from the restaurant.

"What else could possibly go wrong?" I said to myself, out loud. And then a polite girl wearing a McDonalds hat tapped on my car window like Suzie Snowflake.

"Sir, you didn't order anything," she said with a more than perplexed look on her face. ("No sh___," I thought.)

"Large coffee with cream and sugar," I said in return. I couldn't get that tinted window up fast enough to help hide my identity - then I had to roll it back down to pick up my coffee at the pick up window.

Finally, there I was driving toward LOWES with an unwanted cup of coffee on my console and my mind in a state of oblivion.

"Wait till the Mrs. hears this," I was thinking again as I waited at a red light on 17th Street. Ahead, one block on the right was the SHEETZ where I had trouble with the coffee order a month earlier. And two blocks ahead, I could see the LOWES sign.

The light turned green and off I drove.

Passer-bys stared at me in total amazement as I drove into, then back out of that Sheetz parking lot that day. I was laughing hysterically and I didn't care who noticed it. Yes, the Sheetz lot.

It was if aliens pulled me, in my mesmerized state, toward their mother ship, recognized that there was a lost-mind at the wheel and then let me go.

At least I didn't stop to order another coffee. And, I never did make it to Lowes.

Now, what was it that I was supposed to purchase there? Whatever it was, I'll get it on my next trip to Altoona, by way of Pine Croft.

Note: Someday I will tell you how I tried to turn the TV on for my homeroom students by using a calculator instead of the remote. And there also was the time I tried answering a phone call in my room by using the remote for the TV. Thank God it was my last year of teaching.

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927
From Left: Son, Steve - Dad, Frank - Mom, Anastasia (Makar) - Sons; John, Mike, Frank, Chuck (Author's Dad) - Twins, Pete & Mary - Daughter, Catherine. Photo taken in Wilmore, PA