#17 Missing in Malaga: How to Lose a Landrover

Remember when I lost my rental car in Barcelona? Well, there must be something about the air in Spain that makes me lose my sense of direction.

I find myself in whirlwinds a lot (probably because I create them). In the midst of a whirlwind, the first thing that blows away is typically my memory. After the memory goes I begin to lose everything else. Usually I lose keys and money and IDs, but one time on a special weekend in Spain, my friend and I lost a Land Rover. This is how it happened:

One summer while I was living in the UK, I popped down to Spain’s Costa Del Sol for a whirlwind weekend to help my favorite Mexican plan a Mediterranean wedding and to meet up with another friend who happened to be working temporarily in the land of tapas and bullfights.

My friends were staying in a villa perched on top of a very steep hill, and early one morning during my visit, my friend Chris and I decided that we should go for a training run (running is important if you are consuming large quantities of tapas and sangria late at night like Spaniards do). Because we knew that we wouldn’t want to summit Spain’s steepest hill to get home at the end of our run, we borrowed a Land Rover and headed to the beach below.

The streets were quiet and the sea was still when we pulled the giant white Land Rover into an empty car park, laced up our running shoes, hid the keys and took off for a few miles along the deserted beach. It was a beautiful and peaceful morning run. We clocked a few kilometers and turned to head back, only to find that while we’d been on the run, the city had woken up. The problem was that on our return run everything looked very alive and different. Not to fear, we calculated how long we’d been running and figured that 20 more minutes at a consistent pace would lead us to our starting point.

As the sun began to creep higher in the sky, we arrived at the parking lot where we’d left our vehicle. The only problem was that our Land Rover was no where to be found. Unsure if we had passed it and didn’t see it, or not sure if we’d gone far enough, we began to run back and forth along the beach, extending our little jog into a much longer and more stressful workout.

Despite what opinions you may have from how many times I’ve been lost in my 100 stories so far, I’m actually pretty good with directions and I usually try to make a mental note of where I park.

When nothing added up and we still couldn’t find it, we thought about the fact that we’d hid the keys on the front tire. Another lapse in common sense. Nearly convinced it was stolen, or towed, we went on one last mission up the beach a little further than we’d looked already. Turns out our calculations of distance were worse than our lack of common sense. Just a few steps beyond we eventually found it hiding right in the parking lot where we left it.

And so, the moral of the story is this: Nothing is too big to be lost.

If you do find yourself someday in a situation where you’ve lost something really giant, take a moment to consider that you are probably the thing that is lost.

And also, if you borrow someone’s Land Rover you should probably keep the keys with you.

Ps. Please forget this story if I ever ask to borrow your car.

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