Balboas in the Bag…My Mind Elsewhere

17 February 2016

I’m always interested in how ready I am for surprises and how quickly I react to them.

A few weeks ago I parked in town (Larchmont) and walked to a local restaurant that has, since the 1940s, made an iconic Larchmont sandwich (The Balboa…along with a gorgonzola salad). I had them pack some to take to New York on a visit to my daughter and granddaughter. Walking back to the car, my center of thought scattered, I vaguely heard a car alarm, coming from a short distance away. But not paying attention to car alarms…I dismissed it. I got back to what I thought was my  car, but said to myself, that can’t be it…because someone is sitting in it. So I walked past it to look at the license plate. Sure enough, it was my car.

I’m sure I should have been more en garde than I was, but walked around to the driver’s side door and rapped on the window. How innocence could trump suspicion  I don’t know…with constant media stories rife with bad endings. But, luckily, what might have been a hair-trigger carjacker turned out to be a slightly addled elderly lady, obviously confused by unfamiliar surroundings. She looked up at me as I opened the door, smiling, so as not to induce a coronary and informed her that she was sitting in my car. Oh, she said, that must be why the alarm went off.  Yup, I said. No wonder my key didn’t fit and why I couldn’t remember what was in this package on the seat. It was only afterward that I realized I might have been a tad nonchalant. Who knows, she might have been supplementing her Social Security check, boosting cars… the modern day incarnation of Ma Barker with a Luger in her lap. I swore I’d be more ice-water aware than rely on just good fortune. Somewhat later, I felt a pang of angst, when it occurred to me that she’s driving on the same roads that we are.

Final thought…any visitors to Larchmont I’ll happily treat to a Balboa at the Tavern.