Dude, Where’s My Car?

We all have some few social events that we mark on our calendars and attend annually; I have two, 94.7 Jo’burg Day Music Festival and the spring bash H2O. Saturday was the music festival and I’ll probably not forget that night for a long time. Photographs and cell phones calls track times, so this is the unexaggerated version of how my friend and I ended up curled up together on a beach towel in a trench on a field in the middle of nowhere.

The day began by a rude awakening, at 6:17 a phone call from a recent reconnection who stood me up Friday night. By the time Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines erupted from my phone speaker at 7:00 his missed calls tally was on 3, plus a text. I was up, and annoyed, so I decided to honour the alarm’s purpose and went for a 5km ran at the park. By 10:16 I had went, ran, came back, texted my friend that she was late, and the missed call tally was on 6. At 11: 10 my friend finally arrived in a strange car the size of a shoe box. She banged up her own car against a wall on broad daylight, sober, and not on a cellphone. I still can’t fathom. After packing some lunch, and a few drinks and essentials, we left.

Around 13:15 we arrived at last year’s music festival venue. “Where’s everyone?” So it turns out they changed locations. We entered the location written on the tickets (idiots!), and what do you know, Garmin knows where it is.  We were there in under 20 minutes. By 13:30 we have arrived. We’d missed four acts but plenty more were still ahead.

The day was great, the sun was shining but not too hot, and the music was fantastic. We made friends, got interviewed by three TV crews, danced, and left after my favourite live band, Prime Circle, finished their set with flames and confetti at 19:15.

with our new friends and one of the tv crew
with our new friends and one of the tv crew
end of prime circle's set
end of prime circle’s set

This is where it gets interesting; between 19:30 to 20:40 we went up and down the parking fields looking for my car. You see we were late and below is a picture of a portion of the parking lot during the day. When we went looking five hours later after a couple of drinks, more cars had parked, some had already left; there were roads where we don’t remember roads. A nightmare!

the hay stack
a portion of the haystack during the day

The search was exhausting, the terrain difficult like it was ploughed, so it had small trenches we’d fall into and have to constantly come out of. Still in a good mood, I decided to see my glass half full; the festival was not over yet, so I suggested we go back, chill and wait for more people to leave ie. make the haystack smaller. So between 8:44 and 21:00 we watched a set of the Parlotones and left during their last song. It was getting cold and we were really tired and still a couple more performances remained, we couldn’t wait for the end of the show.

At 21:51, after almost an hour searching again, my legs gave up. The morning 5km run and 5 hours of dancing and walking around had finally caught up with me. I told my friend to spread the beach towel so we can sit down. With searching no longer an option, I decided to call my insurance SOS line and report my car as stolen. No help! The teller was full of attitude and told me they’re not a taxi service. With no help from my insurance I called the police. The police lady answering the call told me I was not in her area and that I should call a different police station.

A car guard approached as we sat there talking to the police lady. He took down my car registration and cellphone number and told us that contrary to previous information and our distorted memory, there were three entrances; we drove in through the first one, and we were currently sitting on the lots next to the third one. Great! He correctly assessed however, that we were at our end. He told us to sit tight and he went looking for the car. He left, and I joined my friend and lied down using my camera bag as a pillow. That’s how I ended up lying on a beach towel at ten at night, in the middle of nowhere.

We were still lying on the towel as clouds circled the moon and fine drizzle started falling on my skin as lighting ran across the sky. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse right.

After a few warnings from strangers of being run down by cars and my fear of falling asleep and freezing to death in the open field, we decided to get up. It also felt like the merciful car guard had forgotten us. However, he hadn’t, and from 22:10 to 22: 29 my phone registered ten missed calls from him. Meanwhile we went by entrance one and decided to hire a cab to help us look because my legs were jelly and threatening to give up between the trenches.

We got a cab and we started driving aimlessly around the parking field near the first entrance. At 22:34, the merciful car guard called again, and this time, I could hear Miley’s We Can’t Stop on the first note. I answered.

Eureka! He found it!

He directed us to where he was, and took us to the car.  And there it stood, with only one other car close to it. This parking field was enormous, we didn’t even make it close to where it was in our searched. We expressed our gratitude to the two men in the universal language, and we set for home via McDonald. I was in the house by 23:45 glad to be home, but couldn’t walk and the whole thing still felt unreal.

Moral of the story you ask. I don’t know. I guess you can’t plan for everything in life. We did have the right shoes on for the terrain, thank God. And all I can think of is that next year I’ll be prepared for the parking fiasco; spray paint my car to glow in the dark or something. We really can’t stop. Not now at least.

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