i-Rash, Sleep Depravation and the Car Thief

White GMC.  It’s my wife’s, I don’t remember where I parked it.  It is about midnight.  The Austin Airport parking situation is…  well, like the rest of the infrastructure in Austin – ranging from lacking to downright cockamamie.  Exit signs pointing in different directions, mazes of construction, malfunctioning equipment and carsick-inducing shuttle busses taking corners a little too tight but I own this one, I was running late upon arrival, was talking to a friend and forgot to write down where I parked so I wander the lot after sprinting across the entire Atlanta Airport a couple of hours earlier because Delta Airlines meant E6 not T6

I hit the panic button.  My wrist itches, scratch, scratch.  The Apple Watch has caused a rash, i-Rash but I refuse to take it off; I’m principled.  I hit the panic button again; shit, I accidentally hit the trunk button – still can’t find it.

A voice, “Hey…  hey buddy, you drive a White GMC?”  I replied that I did. “It’s over here…  the trunk is up”  Of course it is, I hit the trunk button…  I thank him.

“So…”  I guess the conversation is not over, “I wanna ask you a question.”  I haven’t slept much the last few days; I’m foggy.  A question…  “Huh?”

“What would you do if I tried to steal your car?”

He’s serious.

“Huh?”

“What would you do if I tried to steal your car?”

I studied him a little closer.  Age, probably 36 or at least that is my guess.  Not athletic but not exactly fat, he has the same blue Nike tennis shoes that I do, same socks, his T-shirt says something, I don’t care what.

I ask, “That depends, are you going to hot wire it or do you think that you are going to take the key from me?”

“Hot wire,” he responds.

“But,” forgetting how strange this rhetorical conversation is, I scratch my wrist again, it’s red and still itches, “there’s no way you could get into it and hot wire it before I got there.”

“Say I could.  Say you were further away but you saw me steal your car, do you think I would get away with it?”

“No.”

“Seriously?” He’s disappointed, “Why”

“I’ve got a phone, a watch that makes phone calls and there is a tracking beacon in the car.”

He’s legitimately stymied.  “A tracking beacon…  Wow, that’s impressive.”  He drifts off in contemplation.

I don’t really have a traffic beacon but it sounded smooth, came out of me naturally – I’m not a good liar in most circumstances and he probably didn’t really buy it but it sounded good.

“What about the other?”

“Huh?”

“What if,” he asked, “I just took the key from you?”

“Never happen.”

“Really?”

“Yep.”

“Why?”

“I’ve slept eight hours in the last three days, I’m tired, I’ve been walking around this parking lot forever and if you came over here to take my key I would beat you down.”

“Really?”  He seemed offended, “I don’t take you for that kind of guy!”

I raise my eyebrows, pinch my lips together, smile downward in a knowing way that said, ‘Well that’s because you’re a dumb-ass’ without having to say a single word – I’ve always had an expressive face but the rash on the wrist is new.  He saw it.  Saw that I was not scared and pretty nonchalant about the entire whackadoodle conversation that we’re having, “I see it now,” he said, “Okay then, I’m not going to steal your car.”

A reprieve, “Alright then…  I’m going to steal that BMW over there.”

I nod, again indifferent to the weirdness of the conversation.  DAMN WRIST WILL NOT QUIT ITCHING!  Scratch, scratch, scratch…

“Will you call the police on me if I steal that other car?”

“Probably but I’m pretty tired, I might not mess with it…”  Apathy, I must really be tired, that’s not who I am, scratch, scratch, scratch.  I throw my bags in the trunk of my wife’s car.

“Nah…” he said, “I’m just messing with you, I’m not going to steal that car, it’s mine, I was just messing with you!”

I chuckle thinking about him stealing a car and then doing circles around the parking lot until he gets caught because the signage is incorrect.  I meet the strangest people…

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