About Life

Mistaken Identity

I left my son in the parking lot. He was sitting sideways on the passenger seat of my car, both legs out the open door, filing a tenacious corn with a foot file I had just bought. Don’t frown. He is an adult (nearly 21). I went to Checkers to buy milk and something else (can’t remember what anymore). I was in the shop for ten minutes.

I walked back to my car. I reached the vehicle and felt a flutter of panic and confusion. All the car doors were closed, and nobody was in it.

Where was my child? As big as he is, I don’t like it if he is not where I left him when I left him.

I pulled on the door handle. Locked.

I pressed the unlock button on my remote, but the door would not open. I stood very still. This was just too suspicious, too much for me to take in. What was going on?

I took a quaking step back, frowning at the stubborn car and mystery-laden air around it. It took about five seconds for the penny to drop.

Oh shit.

Embarrassed, I put my hand in front of my mouth to hide a sheepish smile.

It was not my car.

Not only was it not my car, but I cannot claim it bore any resemblance to my car, other than being small and white. It was a different make, different shape. It did not have roof racks (my boys use roof rack identification – you can’t miss them – to locate my car), and it was clean (my Suzuki Alto is parked under an oak tree overnight and bombarded with high speed, hard-hitting bird droppings).

I looked up and scanned the parking lot to get my bearings and check whether there were any witnesses.

Some distance away, my son stood grinning behind my car. Wrong car, Ma is what he said, loudly, and grinned even wider.

Close by, a man was sitting in his bakkie. As I walked passed, heading for the right vehicle, and mumbling something about wrong car, the stranger opened his door, grinning too, and said, loudly too, I could see your confusion, and sauntered off with a spring in his step.

Decades ago, I went to the loo at a cinema.

Firstly, I was unimpressed by the hand basins: I thought their size and shape ludicrous. Secondly, the number of stalls was inadequate for the volume of women frequenting the premises.

As I sat in my cubicle, underwhelmed by the recently completed renovations, I got a whiff of cigarette smoke and an earful of voices rumbling in tones I would not consider feminine.

I flushed (the loo – the facial flush would come later), opened the stall door, glared at three teenage boys (What a cheek! They’re old enough to go to the men’s toilets!) hanging around those impractical basins and, without washing my hands because I didn’t know what to make of the space-age reno, swept up the long passageway. I passed a handful of men, all going in the direction I had just come from.

And you know what? It took me that long to figure out I had just been to the men’s toilets.

You knew it from the start, didn’t you?

I’m renowned for not always grasping the physicality of my surroundings. There must have been hand basins, but I did not see them. All I saw was a wall lined with weird things.

The urinals I had seen (in junior school, and maybe in movies?) looked nothing like those upper crust, stand-alone, compact bowls in the cinema loo.

I’m surprised I haven’t drunk water out of a vase, or helped myself to the cat’s pellets in a bowl on a friend’s kitchen counter.

I have drunk water out of a toothbrush holder…

thought it was a drinking glass.

This week’s Happiness…

is chatting to a woman who sells protea flowers on the grass verge at the entrance to an upmarket golfing estate. She gifted me a single bloom. I put it in a bowl on my bedside table, and its open face is a joy to behold.

Isn’t it a joy?

Another effervescent, colorful joy is Valerie June. With Valerie, I lip-sync, do an upper body chair dance at my desk, call myself a fool, beam at the world. I Smile.

Valerie June in full bloom

Toodle-oo, and blossoming, big love to you. Mpwah.

xxx ❤ TeaShell Michele

2 thoughts on “Mistaken Identity

    1. How lovely – grinning in one’s sleep. I saw my eldest son smiling in his sleep a few days ago, and it’s a visual I will treasure. Thank you for reading, Johan, and I’m delighted that doing so lifted your spirits. 😃


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