Keys, keys, keys, keys

By Margie Bailey Rose


While driving home from work one chilly January evening, I remembered I was out of cash and turned into my bank parking lot to use the outdoor ATM.  I decided to leave the car running with the heater on, as it was only ten feet from the cash machine, and it was very cold.  Having recently moved from San Diego back to Seattle (the main reason I was so affected by the cold) I was still in a paranoid, Everyone is trying to steal my car every moment of every day, frame of mind, and my primitive brain disobeyed my modern brain by ordering my hand to push down the lock as the door swung shut.  I watched in horror– frozen in place (as I said, it was very cold) with my arm extended toward the car.


Gradually the surroundings forced their way into my consciousness.  It was dark and cloudy, and tiny snowflakes had begun to fall.  The world was silent and my mind screamed– NOT AGAIN. 


How could a reasonably bright, and mostly sane, person keep locking herself out of her car?  Many times I vowed to get one of the little magnetic key boxes and hide it under the car, but my paranoia told me that car thieves love those boxes.  They save time and trouble– no punching out the lock and twisting wires together.  A gift, you might say.  I did put an extra set of keys in the zipper pocket of my purse, but I jumped out of the car with only my debit card this time.  There I stood with the silly piece of plastic in my hand looking at my quietly running car, all locked up with every window cranked to the max.  I knew it was warm inside as I stood shivering.  My hat and gloves were in the cozy car.


I looked around the little strip mall to see if any businesses were still open and a few looked like they might be.  I would need more than my good looks to get help in our gimme, gimme world, so I took the few steps to the ATM and thought a few seconds.  How much was this fiasco going to cost me?  I took out $100 and trudged down the sidewalk toward the lights.


The first establishment was a tavern and I feared one of my ex-husbands might be nursing his third beer at the bar so I passed it by.  (I certainly did not want help, or mocking, from that quarter.)  The Red Apple grocery at the very end of the mall was open and allowed me to use their phone to call a mobile locksmith.  I bought a diet Coke and waited in the warm store for fifteen minutes then walked back to the car and stood under the bank awning until the cavalry arrived. 


I really must get a car that refuses to let me out unless I have the key in my possession.  Maybe James Bond has one.