Lessons Learned in Philadelphia. Lesson 2

April 21, 2016

Luxury That Wasn’t

It seemed like a good idea at the moment.  We were tired after driving for a couple of hours. Robert was anxious and his anxiety drained some of our energy.  We felt slightly lost in the city which none of us had visited before.  The directions to the garage seemed confusing.  We just wanted to get to our room, relax, and make the plans for the day. Robert and Jan took our baggage inside while I handed the car key to the driver.    As I said, it seemed like a good idea at the moment.  The little luxury we needed and certainly deserved would make our trip a little easier.

Except it didn’t. When we left the hotel to walk to the Liberty Bell, Robert noticed that the car was not there where we left it.

“Car, car, car”, Robert asked.

“Car is in the garage”.

“Car car car”

“Car is in the garage” I repeated.

“Car, car, car” Robert kept asking.

“What about car?” I asked.

“In the garage.” answered Robert and kept calm for a minute or two.

And then the whole cycle of questioning, answering, and keeping calm for a short time repeated itself over and over.

Robert called for our car during walk to Liberty Bell.  He called for the car in front of Liberty Bell while his photos were being taken.  He calmed considerably while waiting in line for the presentation prior to the visit to Independence Hall.  He seemed fine when we entered the room, but as soon as the lecture started, Robert with his more dramatic voice called, “Car, car, car.”  After he did that second time, I asked him to leave with me.  He didn’t want to leave, “No, no,no” , but he didn’t want to be calm either.  So with some commotion we all left.  Yet again, on the way back to the hotel – all six blocks from Independence Hall Robert kept demanding, asking, begging for car. But at least not as frequently as before and not as loud as he did in the Independence Hall.  He felt much calmer in the restaurant as he stuffed his mouth with fries and hamburger. After all it was probably impossible to make emotional appeals for car with mouth full of food. Two hours later, however,  snuggled comfortably in his bed, Robert was falling asleep with softly but clearly articulated word, “Caaaar”.

I should have known.  I should have remembered how desperate Robert felt when, almost 20 years before, we had left our car at the mechanic. He couldn’t talk at all at that time so he used other ways of communicating his wants. He tried to pull me back to the garage so I would retrieve the car. He tried to run back to retrieve the car himself.  I should have remembered that ten years ago, he kept asking, “Blue car, blue car”  the whole time, three days,  the car was in the body shop. I should have remember how reluctant he was to give the car key to the mechanic whenever there was a need to change oil or do yearly inspection.  Over time, Robert accepted the idea that the car has to be left with the mechanic from time to time.  He also never had problem with leaving the car at any of the parking lots when we drove there together.  He knew where it was and where to go to get it back.  That was not the case with valet parking. For Robert that was an equivalent of car disappearing.  No wonder he was anxious.

I should have known.  I should recall the past experiences to envision possible problems.  I didn’t . As I said, I was tired and a little confused.

 

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