Let us now ponder the ubiquity of the dark blue Subaru Outback in the Methow Valley.
Several weeks ago after shopping at Hank’s Harvest Foods, I unloaded my three giant tote bags of groceries into the back of my dark blue Subaru Outback. I then returned the cart to the store and hopped into the driver’s seat of the car. After a split second of disorientation (“Where’s my mug in the cup holder? Where are my mailbox keys?”), I realized that it was not my car. Whoops! I furtively unloaded the groceries and transferred them to my own vehicle three parking spaces over, glancing around to see if anyone had witnessed my transgression.
Those of us who drive blue Outbacks are well aware of the potential for mistaken vehicle identity, but still, it’s surprisingly easy to slip up. The other night I exited a dinner party with my husband and buckled myself into the passenger seat of “my” Outback. Jon got into the front seat of his car (neither blue nor Subaru), which we had both driven in to the dinner, and leaned out to tell me “Wrong car, honey.”
The only thing that saves me from feeling like a complete fool is the fact that I’m not alone. Al and Koko Blakeslee tell me that they are hanging on to a pair of men’s brown Nike sneakers that mysteriously appeared in their dark blue Outback right after the new year. “We had a lot of errands that day,” Koko says, “and we can’t figure out where we were parked when then shoes showed up. Maybe the gym or the town trailhead?” If you’re missing shoes of this description, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the Blakeslees, neither of whom fits the shoes. “They’re not very worn out!” says Koko.
This is not the first time the Blakeslees have received something unexpected through a blue Outback mix-up. A few years ago, Koko tells me, she and Al were parked at Hank’s while volunteering for Neighbors Helping Neighbors. When they finished their shift and returned to their car, they noticed a large cake sitting in their back seat. Al lifted the cake out and was walking back into Hank’s — to deliver the cake to the lost-and-found, perhaps — when he noticed someone running toward him yelling “That’s my cake!”
Volkswagen owners have historically fallen prey to the same car-related blunders. Julie Grialou tells me that when she was growing up in northern California, orange VWs were all the rage. Her family once drove “their” orange VW home from a sporting event and didn’t realize until they parked in their driveway that it was not their car. Now doesn’t that just take the cake?