Seeing Double

I stopped at the library to drop off a book and when I got back to my car, which was a total round trip of about a hundred feet and less than a minute, it was locked. That’s funny, I thought. I don’t remember locking the car. Then I noticed there was a bottle of water in the center console. That’s really funny, I thought. I don’t remember having a bottle of water. Or some plastic flowers. Or a pink sweatshirt in the passenger seat.

Of course it wasn’t my car. I’d parked next to a completely identical blue Honda which, admittedly, isn’t that surprising. It is a little strange that I didn’t notice sooner, although I think I have a certain car blindness. I wouldn’t say that all cars look alike to me but I don’t exactly notice makes and models either. It’s why I’m terrified of witnessing an accident or a crime or something and being questioned about it.

“So you say you saw the bank robber get into a car and go west down 21st Avenue. What kind of car was he driving?”

“Well, it was…blue.”

Fortunately the car I briefly tried to get into didn’t have an alarm which would have been embarrassing. Car alarms seem to have fallen out of fashion after a time when they seemed to be everywhere and annoying everybody. And the driver wasn’t around, or at least they didn’t notice or say anything, although we probably could have had a good laugh about the fact that we were each driving identical cars, probably purchased in the same year, and even though Honda isn’t paying me I still feel I should say they’re amazingly dependable and run forever. We bought the one we’ve got now in 2019 to replace one we purchased in 1999—even on the same day, exactly twenty years earlier—and if we’d just replaced the fuel pump on the 1999 one it might still be running now.

Having realized my mistake I walked over to my car and got in and that’s when I saw that there was a bottle of water in the center console. Which I still don’t remember putting there.

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    Thanks for another memorable post, Chris. I deliberately parked next to a car identical to my beloved Yellow Honda Fit at the supermarket the other day for the photo opportunity. When we returned to my car after shopping, the woman driving the other one was leaving. I eagerly started a conversation with her assuming we shared some love for that vehicle and found out that the car didn’t belong to her — she was a car dealer and was only driving it for the day. As my husband Michael says, it’s never what you expect.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s more than a bit disappointing that you’d find a fellow Yellow Honda Fit driver only to have it turn out to be a dealer. But someone out there is going to buy that car and I hope you get a chance to park next to them when you least expect it.

  2. Arionis

    I was on a work trip once and driving a rental car. At the end of the day I unlocked my rental car with the key (back before keyless entry was a thing) but the key wouldn’t turn in the ignition. I looked around and noticed that the stuff in the car wasn’t mine. My rental was two spaces down. This was an identical car that must have had locks so similar that my key would open both of them.
    Arionis recently posted…Starving AuthorMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’ve wondered whether similar keys would open the locks on different vehicles! We have two Hondas–the CRV and a van, and the keys look similar enough that I’ve wondered if one would open the door to the other although I haven’t tried that yet. I’ve also wondered about keyless entry. The frequencies must be finite, right? So odds are sooner or later someone’s got to get a key that opens someone else’s car.


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