Friday, February 5, 2010

Typical Monday

On Monday, I just wanted to get home from work.  I'd been feeling slightly ill all day.  Early that morning I broke a fingernail, and it turns out I have no nail clippers in my purse or desk at the office.  It was a very busy day work-wise.  You know, typical Monday.

The workday finally ended.  On the way home, I made a pit stop at the local family grocery to grab a container of Cool Whip Free (which I enjoy on Jell-o.  Shut up.)  Due to the aforementioned broken nail, I was wearing one glove and holding the other as a sort of shield against the cold steering wheel.  I parked, removed the keys, had a brief debate about what to do with the glove I was holding, and decided to leave it in the car.  I grabbed my purse, got out, locked the door, and started walking toward the store.  Then I realized I was still holding my other glove after all.  Which meant ... OH HELL NO.

Oh hell yes.  I glanced frantically into my purse, but I certainly didn't remember putting my keys in there.  I trotted back to the car and peered in the window.  Yep!  There were my keys!  Sitting on the passenger seat where I meant to leave my glove!  And of course all the doors were locked.  That's second nature.  I mean, gee, I'd have to be a fool to leave my doors unlocked.

I considered my options.  I do have a spare car key at home, but I don't have a spare house key anywhere but inside the house.  One of my neighbors had the spare when I was on sabbatical, but no longer.  I entered the store in defeat, and went to the service desk to ask if they knew of a local lock company.  I had a feeling there wasn't one nearby, someone would have to come from downtown Madison, and I could only imagine how much I'd have to pay them because I was stupid.  

But!  The people behind the counter - a woman and friendly man named Keith - gave me a knowing look.  "You've come to the right place," the woman told me.  "People do this all the time."  Keith rooted around in back for supplies, and followed me out to the car.  He carried a long, slightly bendy metal pole with a little hook at the end, and something that looked like a blood pressure cuff.  He inserted that into the space at the top of my driver's side door and inflated, which made the top of the door stick out an inch or so.  Cool!  He then reached in with the bendy hook.  Only problem?  As anyone who's been a passenger in my car can verify, my doors don't unlock when you pull on the handle.  You have to manually unlock, or hit a small button on the center panel ... wrong angle for Mr. Bendy Pole.  The locks themselves are smooth and slippery.  Keith tried to hook the keys from the other door, but they dropped to the floor.  The door wasn't wedged open far enough anyway.

A bag boy came out to offer opinions.  I briefly thought of the trunk - Keith was able to reach the latch at the side of the driver's seat - but then I realized that you can't push the back seats forward if they're not unlocked first.  That didn't stop us from trying, but it was no use.  

About fifteen minutes had now passed.  Poor Keith was still trying his best.  He thought perhaps if we had something sticky, he could gain enough purchase on the lock to pull it up.  He returned to the store to search.  

At this point, it started snowing.

Keith came back out with some clear packing tape.  He applied it to the end of Mr. Bendy Pole, and I pulled the door out from the top as he inserted the now-thicker pole inside.  Tried ... tried ... tried ... no dice.  He thought perhaps duct tape would work better.  Back into the store.  

Meanwhile, I stood outside in the snow.  I watched forlornly as other, non-stupid shoppers stowed bags of groceries in their cars (showoffs) and drove away.  Finally, I couldn't resist trying the pole myself.  I re-bunched the tape, wrestled the pole inside, and after a minute or two managed to wedge it between the lock and the window.  I pulled.  It slipped.  BAAAAH!  I wedged it again.  Pulled ... harder ... clunk.  Success!  Unlocked!  I unlocked all the doors, went around the passenger side for the keys, and shut everything again in triumph.  Keys safe in my pocket.  

I grabbed Keith's implements and returned to the warmth of the store.  Keith was just coming back with duct tape.  I won't lie; I was pretty proud of the fact that I'd managed to free the keys in his absence.  I thanked him profusely, and finally went to buy the stupid container of Cool Whip.

As I was paying, it occurred to me that I couldn't remember if I'd locked all the doors again.  I snorted, thinking it would be hilarious if I got back out there and found the car just gone.  But, I had locked the doors.  And even if I hadn't, there was about a 0.005% chance anybody would have stolen my car from the grocery store.  The car was there.  I finally went home.  And that, folks, was the start of my week.  Hey, at least it wasn't January anymore.

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