Spoiler: I almost called this post “Hang on Sloopy, I’m coming for ya”
Ever seen that episode of Seinfeld where they lose their car in a parking garage for HOURS? That’s happened to me… More than once. I now take a picture of my jeep from a couple of angles AND a picture of the nearest marker every time I leave it in a garage or big parking lot. That said, there ARE no garages or big parking lots in Pai, population less than 5,000, not including tourists. So when I parked Sloopy on the road in front of a closed garage, I took the key out and headed to the cafe. Picture unnecessary. Sure, there are a lot of folks with scooters in Pai but, to me, Sloopy’s one of a kind. At a minimum, the bubble gum pink helmet attached to her seat made her at least a little bit of a standout.
Flash forward three hours…
I’d been in a cafe that had turned over into a bar while I was sitting there people watching and uploading pictures. Clue one. Stuff changes in the afternoon in Pai. Clue went unnoticed at the time. I settle up and head back in the direction of Sloopy, noticing that the night market was in full force… Lots of stalls with jewelry, delicious looking food, more pretty pants.. Oh those pretty pants. Clue 2. It also went unnoticed.
I walked all the way to the end of the street, distracted by all the sights, and sounds and smells,… And pretty pants. Oops. Forgot my mission was to get Sloopy. Hmm,… Shouldn’t I have spotted Sloopy somewhere? I must have walked right past her. But wait,… There didn’t seem to be ANY scooters on this street anymore. Did I miss the memo?
Ok, time to focus Kim. Forget the stalls and their pretty, pretty things. Your mission is simple. Find Sloopy.
I look between every stall and go well passed where I know I parked her. Nothing. Hmmm. What do you think they do in Pai to scooters parked in market zone at night market time? I look for someone who looks like they’ve been here a while and ask…
ME: Excuse me,… any chance you know what happens to bikes that are parked here before the night market?
OBVIOUSLY HIGH (ON LIFE, OF COURSE) GUY: [Haha] No worries [haha]. I’ve never seen them TAKE the bike. They usually just move it somewhere so they can set up their stall.
ME: Ah! Great! Thanks SOOOO much.
OBVIOUSLY HIGH GUY [Almost giggling]: Ya. Sure. But, uhm. It’s not always close though… So you might want to go a ways away from where you think you parked it. Check everywhere.
ME: Gotcha. Thanks again!
OBVIOUSLY HIGH GUY: Good luck Man! [hahahah]
So the hunt for Sloopy officially begins… I start out in a grid, mimicking what I’ve seen them do on tv when they’re looking for a missing person, minus calling out to her (obviously). 🙂 I’m focused. I’m determined. I’m confident she’s around the next corner just waiting to be found.
After about 20 minutes of hunting, and I’m surprisingly still super chill about this,… I see a dark alley that seems to be oddly full of scooters. Nah! This alley is about a 5-minute walk from where I’m sure I parked her. It can’t be! But I check it to say I did. Leave no stone unturned, right? They’d have checked it on TV… So I did.
About half way down I spot a bubble gum pink helmet on a Scoopy. Do you think? I pull out my key, feeling a little like Prince Charming with the shoe. Key goes in, turns all the way to the right…. Cindaf@#*$ella! Aka, SCOOPY! So glad to see you.
The moral of this story? I’d like to say something deep here about nothing you have really truly being lost but I won’t. There’s no moral to this story, … I just want to be your ‘Obviously High Guy’ in advance. When you go to Pai, and you can’t find your scooter, no worries. Just look around. She’s there somewhere, waiting for her Prince Charming. And when the key fits,… it’s happily ever after. 👠🔑👑