Thursday, May 12, 2016

Side trip: PANIC!

I headed out the next day from Staunton, where my grandmother and her partner had been kind enough to let me spend the night. The drive down I-81, familiar from my Blacksburg days, was uneventful. I exited at Chilhowie, VA (how’s that for a name?), and turned due south towards the high point of Virginia, Mt. Rogers.

I hadn’t driven far through the low, rolling country when a massive cluster of mountains rose up before me, filling the horizon with a wall of green. Patches of sunlight played over the foothills, bringing their color into even sharper contrast with the still-gray peaks behind them. The sight amazed me; I just had to get a picture of this. I pulled over (into the driveway of a confused-looking farmer) and grabbed for my phone and the Lars… only the Lars weren’t there.

Where were those little green dudes? I checked my purse—nope. Not in the front seat, the back seat, the bag of clothes, the laptop case. Had I left them at my grandmother’s?

It’s okay, I tried to convince myself. They’ll find them. They can send them on to you. At least you didn’t leave them in a hotel room or a rest stop somewhere. I called my grandmother, doing my best to explain the problem, but the connection gave out. Panicking, I shot back into town and called again on a stronger signal. She and her partner searched the house as I rattled off every conceivable place I could have left them, but the Lars could not be found.

We’ll call you if we find them, Grandmother said.

I hung up in despair. How could I have lost those little buggers after only three high points? I’d worried about them falling off a cliff somewhere out West, or getting stolen from my car in some crime-ridden city (because everyone knows Pokemon-figurine thieves cluster at high altitudes), but never about plain old losing them, like some kid with her stuffed rabbit. What an idiot. I can’t believe-

-and then a memory from last night returned to me. I checked my laptop case one more time—and there they were in the tiny front pocket I’d skipped in my first frantic search.

I shoved the runaways into my purse, then called my grandmother again to apologize for the trouble. They’d been with me the whole time.

And you know what the irony is? I ended up taking that mountain-shot without the Lars.

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