FINDING THE KEY
26 October 2002
I've pretty much had the "key" thing under control since I
started carrying a handbag with a clip on it where you can clip your keys. For
years--years and years--it was a daily ritual of looking for my keys...sometimes searching
for it in my always oversized handbags. Tearing my hair out because I couldn't find my
keys. Wandering around the house turning over things trying to find my keys.
Then I got The Bag. It changed my life.
It's the one part of my life today which is (most of the time) truly
disciplined. When I get out of the car, I immediately clip the key to the inside of my
bag. When I come in the front door, I immediately hang my key on the hook which is right
in the front hallway. It has made my life so much easier.
It wasn't always this way. And it's not always this way
now, but almost always. I remember once leaving my keys on a desk at Gemco, which I didn't
realize until I'd finished buying about $200 worth of stuff and pushed the overloaded cart
out to the parking lot, only to find I didn't have my keys. I returned to the customer
desk to see if I had left them there when I was renewing my membership.
It was a little embarrassing because I had to describe the keys.
You see, many years ago, I worked for a typing service which was
owned by a woman who also owned a tsatske store in "Old Sacramento," the
touristy part of the state's capitol. She sold some quality clothing and jewelry, but also
some junk souvenirs. A thing they stocked one year were novelty keychains, which could be
personalized. They were from The Mustang Ranch, one of Nevada's notorious brothels. A huge
round brass circle which says "When at The Mustang Ranch, ask for..." and then
you would engrave your name.
Well, that Christmas she gave each one of us working at the typing
service our own personalized keychains as a funny gift. It was a great size, making it
easy to find blindly in the bottom of a cavernous handbag, so I have used it ever since.
About 20 years now. I don't even think about what it says on it, until I had to describe
it. Apparently the reason why the keychain was not in the lost and found drawer was that
it had been the subject of great hilarity among the staff, and was being shown all around
the huge warehouse.
After that I was even more diligent about remembering to clip the
keys inside my purse when getting out of the car.
However, yesterday I was in a rush when I got home and somehow, what
with carrying the mail in my hands and hurrying to get into the house, I bypassed the hook
in the entry hall and put my keys....somewhere.
I didn't know they were missing until I started to go to work this
It was going to be the perfect day. I was going to finally get caught
up. When I left work last night, I even told Dr. G, "Don't you DARE call me with
some project tomorrow. I am doing bookkeeping and I don't want to be
interrupted." He seemed a bit taken aback, but agreed.
I also had to make a run to the bank and mail off two packages for
him at Mailboxes, Etc. It would be so nice. Ride my bike all over town (Walt was in San
Francisco with the car).
But the keys were gone.
I searched the dining room table, the kitchen counter, the kitchen
table and my desk. (You've seen pictures--you know that "searching the kitchen
table" or "my desk" is no small task. I live by stacks and piles). In fact,
I searched them all repeatedly, picking up this and that...surely they had to be somewhere.
I looked in the pocket of my jacket, took everything out of my purse, hauled my slacks out
of the laundry and checked the pockets of those. Nothing.
The keys just were not there.
The packages needed to get into the mail immediately. Dr. G wanted
them delivered tomorrow (my god do you know how much it costs to get a package
overnight 80 miles? $37!!!). I also had a bank deposit that had to be made. I didn't want
to bike because I would have to go to two corners of Davis, then return home to continue
my key hunt before I could go to the office. Time was really a factor here, so I decided
to take the car. I could drive the car because Walt had the car I usually drive (the
keys for which were on the missing keyring), so I was driving David's old clunker car and
the keys for that are on a separate key ring.
I stopped en route for lunch at a pizza parlor where they have the
best salad bar in town. I was sitting there eating my salad when this woman who looked
enough like Marta to be her twin passed by on her way to the soft drink machine.
"I'll have to tell Marta about this person," I thought. The woman looked too
young to be Marta--and her hair was a little different. Otherwise she looked identical.
I continued to eat my salad when suddenly Marta's "twin"
stopped by my table to say hello. It was Marta herself, having just ordered a small pizza,
so she sat down with me and we had a lovely, unexpected visit while we finished our
respective lunches. (She was pleased to know I hadn't recognized her because she
looked "too young." -- and she'd recently cut her bangs, which is why her hair
It was now later than I'd intended and I still had to find the keys.
I couldn't get into the office without them.
I returned home (I'd left the front door unlocked--you can still do
that in Davis, some of the time, though it's probably getting to be a less wise thing to
do). I decided I had to do this systematically. Instead of picking up piles and moving
them back and forth, I should actually clean the house. So the kitchen counter got
clean, and in the process I found other projects to do, which took up more time. I looked
all over the dining room table, but no keys. Once again, I emptied my purse, looked under
the laundry into the cushions of the reclining chair.
Finally, around 4 p.m., I started working on the kitchen table. This
is the table I'd searched at least three times already, but just picking up piles and
moving them. Now I was actually going to clean off the table, throw away the junk piece by
piece...layer by layer.
And there, at 4:15 p.m., in the middle of a stack of things I'd
moved several time already, were the keys.
By now it was too late to go to the office, so I've had an
unexpected "vacation" day...but the trade off is that the bookkeeping still
didn't get done, and I simply must work this weekend to get it all done.
BTW, you may have noticed a new link on my front page to "Funny the Foto." I
joined a new ring ('tho my application isn't active yet) for people who post photos every
day. Since I do, I thought it would be ideal, only it turns out that you can't link
to a journal. It has to be strictly a photo site, so I've set up a photo
site where sometimes I will post the same photos I use here as "photo of the
day," only in larger size, and sometimes (like today) it will be a different photo.
I don't know how long this project will last, but it seems to be a great way
to not only use my camera, but to keep a photographer's eye out for interesting photos to
take. They are supposed to be taken within 3 days of when they are posted (but
I might cheat occasionally--not usually, but once in a while.)