Musings about neurological deficits, prompted by my proven inability to recognize vehicles. Even my own.
They’re blocking the road. Well, not the whole road, just my lane. But that seems sufficient, not to say excessive, frankly.
After dropping off the Big Guy at an annual pseudo-grudge golf event, I’m skirting Ottawa International Airport to get back to the main road home.
What I’m driving on isn’t a through road, but it’s a real road nevertheless, and one with a fair bit of real traffic. Airplane spotters come looking for the parking areas apparently designed for this activity. Workers and customers travel to and from commercial hangars and maintenance facilities that front onto this road and back onto the airfield. Trash talkers make their way to their own pseudo-grudge matches at the golf course.
The three middle-aged adults on the road appear to be none of these: my guess is they’re just lollygaggers. Although there’s lots of room on the gravel shoulder, they’re on the road itself, spread out in a way that entirely blocks my lane.
I’d seen them on the way in, so I’m watching for them on the way out. We meet just where the road curves around the east edge of the airfield. They don’t move over, so I do, hoping I don’t meet another vehicle on this curve.
And so, of course, I do. A large black pick-up truck barrels towards me.
Before I can get too excited, the other driver sees what’s happening and slows down. I pass the walkers and scoot back into my own lane, getting ready to wave to this helpful stranger. Instead, as I pull abreast of the completely unfamiliar truck and get a glimpse of the driver, I wave and smile at one of the Big Guy’s oldest friends, en route to the same tournament.
As mentioned earlier in these pages, neurologist Oliver Sacks suffers from face blindness – the inability to recognize people he’s worked with for years, if he meets them out of context. I believe I suffer from vehicle blindness – the inability to recognize vehicles I’ve seen for years, in or out of context . . .
Arriving at a planned rendezvous in Phoenix, we look for the Big Guy’s brother’s SUV—which vehicle I have seen dozens of times and ridden in numerous times. The Big Guy scans the parking lot for the right make, model, and colour. I scan for another Ontario license plate.
Coming out of the grocery store in the summer, I retrace my steps to the general area where I parked and look for the kayak racks on top of our Honda. The Honda we’ve driven for 11 years.
Coming out of the grocery store in any other season, I used to walk confidently up to any grey car with four doors. Having met my quota of indignant rightful owners this way, I now hit the button on the fob and wait to see which car winks at me before I make my move.
When I first realized that I had a problem, I thought I must have missed school the day they were teaching vehicle recognition. Older but no wiser, I now believe there are some things I just can’t learn, due to my neurological deficit.
It can’t possibly be that I’m just not paying attention. You know, like the lollygaggers.
No, on consideration, I acknowledge that I might have an attention deficit, but I’m pretty sure they have a bona fide neurological deficit.