I really have no business having keys on my person. Ever. Not after Thursday.
There’s a group I meet up with a couple times a week to get our pups out together for socialization and physical/mental well-being. They love it and so do we. It’s sort of like taking your dog to the dog beach except you know and love all the dogs and the people they own.
We had done some laps around the park where I generally keep Goob and Lo at a heel to practice good focus and training, after which I usually release them to run free for a while in a grassy ravine below with the rest of the pups.
Patty, an incredibly sweet member of the group, had just given Goob a nice Dean & Tyler body harness, which I had cleverly clipped my car keys to during our walk.
And by cleverly I mean idiotically.
Before releasing the dogs this cold and fateful night, I went to un-clip my keys from Goober’s harness where I had so ‘cleverly’ attached them, figuring they would be safer in my hands than on the back of The Goob while he ran free.
Ha ha. A dire fallacy, to be sure. The fact that I didn’t even realize half of my keys were not even there at this point decidedly bears this out.
About twenty seconds later I look down at my hand and observe therein only two keys: One that opens my front door, and the other that opens the the gate to my pool. Not exactly what I need to get home.
Hmm. Where is my car key? At this point I sort of chuckle to myself, thinking they have just slipped out of my hand somehow, and oh-what-a-klutz-am-I, ha ha.
Yeah, real funny Jen, what a klutz are you. You have no idea.
Soon enough the whole group begins looking about too, thinking that at any moment we will see them glimmering in the grass. It is quite dark at this point, mind you, so anyone who has a flashlight in their trunk has fished it out, and we all begin to look a little like pirates searching for buried treasure.
About an hour, yes an hour later we start to feel rather discouraged and are no longer just looking in the area where I thought I had dropped my keys. No, we are looking along a 2 mile path around the park. The cheerful whistling and humming has all but ceased, except for Chris who I imagine whistles while he sleeps. Our feet and hands are thoroughly frozen by now, as are our dogs, who are now looking up at us like we’ve gone out of our minds.
I tell them we haven’t, but I don’t really believe that.
Shortly thereafter I tell everyone to go home and that we’re going to plan B. Plan B consists of me picking up the spare key I think I have sitting at my office in a desk drawer. One of the guys kindly offers to drive me to go fetch it, and we get to see what it’s like driving with a 160lbs Great Dane and a 100lbs King Dobie crammed into the cab of a truck.
Needless to say we all thaw out very quickly.
Because I have nothing on my person identifying me as human in any way shape or form since all my stuff is still locked inside my car, I have to call the safety department to have an officer let me in to my office. I explain the whole ordeal and offer him and myself a chocolate from my assistant’s desk and skip back to the truck, spare key in hand.
We get back to my poor little car sitting by it’s lonesome self along the dark street in front of the park, and the key unlocks the door. I do a little happy dance right there in the street and the dogs roll their eyes at me. I tell Jim I don’t care if they are laughing at me and thank him profusely for his generous assistance. I go to start my car and the engine quickly rolls over and dies.
I try again and see a little red light start to blink on the dashboard. Apparently my car has now gone into anti-theft mode and is telling me someone is stealing it. I try to explain the situation to my car, but she doesn’t seem to hear me and soon we are back to square one, except this time I’m sitting in my car wondering what to do and Goober is sprawled out in the backseat playing watch dog. My friend Jim happens to know something about cars and starts tinkering with the engine to try to reset it. My car thinks it’s too smart for that and shuts down entirely.
I soon have AAA on the phone and I see that Jim has gone out looking for those bloody keys again with his flashlight along the path. A few strangers walk by with their dogs and join in the search because they say it makes the night interesting and Jim keeps promising everyone that whoever finds the key ‘gets a date with Jen’. I want to protest but can’t think any longer because I’m frozen from head to toe and dreaming of hot pancakes.
Goober tries to eat the AAA guy when he comes to tow my car, and I have to explain to the nice man that my dog isn’t really a tow-guy- killer while he stands in front of me, teeth bared, ferociously guarding me with all his might.
This seems to provide adequate motivation for the man to quickly hook up my car and tow it back to my house within 4 minutes flat without a glance at my membership card.
After dropping them off, Jim and his dog give me their truck for the night and tell me to borrow it through Friday, just because that is how they are. I drive home and make some Trader Joe’s buttermilk pancakes, thank God for good people, and crash.
(This is, by the way, the best pancake mix in the world)
Later I find out that Jim has driven his motorcycle back through the park in the dead of night, posting signs everywhere in case someone finds them. He runs into some kids smoking something and nearly scares the eebie jeebies out of them. Not every day you see a motorcycle driving down the sidewalk of a park at 1am.
The next morning I get up as early as my body will let me and drive back to the park to look for the keys while the sun is out. I look for what feels like forever, along with Russell, a kind man who lives on the corner near the park and has also joined in the search, rake in hand. Hours later he goes to eat lunch and I leave to go to a doctor’s appointment I cannot get out of.
After my appointment I leave the hospital building and walk out into the parking lot to go find the truck. Little do I know that during my visit the nurse has actually taken me from one side of the hospital to the other, but both opposing parking lots are identical.
Yeah, you see where this is going, don’t you.
Don’t laugh, it’s not funny.
In my defense, my mind and eyesight are, at this point, almost entirely compromised and I am beginning to see keys everywhere.
And soooooo, I start looking for the truck that isn’t mine in the wrong parking lot for about half an hour before I really think I’ve gone out of my mind. Not only have my keys disappeared but now I’ve lost my friend’s truck. Right before I decide I’ve stepped into The Twilight Zone I figure out what has happened and am relieved to discover not everything I touch disappears.
Saturday morning I get a call from a stranger who read one of Jim’s signs. She has found my keys along the same path a dozen of us have looked over a hundred times. How that happened I’ll never know, but I think I am going to be adhering my keys to my body for the rest of my life.