Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Key In the Hand...


is worth about a million in the car - especially when it's locked. 

I don't believe in coincidence anymore. Too many experiences in my life, when honestly reflected upon, have come with signs/omens/seemingly random thoughts, and today's was no different. Last week, at the end of one of our adventure walks, I flashed on how horrible it would be to arrive back at the car only to discover the keys had dropped out of the pocket of the stroller at some point during the past three hours of trekking around logging roads. It occurred to me almost simultaneously that it would be really smart to have a hide-a-key tucked away somewhere under the car. I wondered for a moment if they were obsolete - like fanny packs or walkmans - and then I wondered where we might go for lunch before, never returning to the practicality of hidden spare keys. 

Until today. 

This morning I drove to my employers with Amari napping in the back has I have done countless times since her birth. Upon arriving, I popped the trunk, clicked the unlock bottom to open all the doors, and simultaneously rolled up my windows because there were a couple of guys in the driveway swinging golf clubs and kicking up dust. I made small talk, declined a morning beer, unloaded my boxes, bid farewell, and closed the trunk. When I got to my door, however, it wouldn't open. Locked. I checked my pockets. Empty. I looked in the car. Bingo. And by bingo I mean shit, fuck, piss, goddammit. 

Luckily, Amari was sleeping, unaware that her dad had made his first really big parenting boo boo. Thankfully, some of her favorite tunes were playing softly on the stereo. Mercifully, the fog had only just rolled out, so the sealed car was still comfortably cool. These factors combined stopped me from panicking, and I quickly started to make phone calls. Carrie - no answer. Melissa - dead phone. AAA Road Side Assistance - forty-five minutes and a promise they would try to hurry. 

Meanwhile, Chris's slightly buzzed buddy, Brian ("with and I") said, "I've got a Slim Jim in the car." Weird right? "I don't know why. It came with my truck," he added. He proceeded to go to work on the driver's side door, but with very little success. Fueled perhaps by the Keystone Light in his other hand, Brian persisted until Chris suggested they try a different approach.  Chris pried open the top of the driver's side door, and slid the Slim Jim in to manually unlock the door. This went on for several minutes and with each failed attempt Amari began to stir slightly until she was wide awake staring at this long, metal blade poking around where her dad was when she'd drifted off to sleep. 
s thi
"You'd better hurry up, Chris," I urged him, ducking out of site to avoid Amari realizing this wasn't just a dream. Less than two minutes later - click, clack, open, and Chris and Brian saved the day. I was completely relieved, especially that Amari will never know what happened until she reads this blog and realizes why she has an irrational fear of snakes breaking into our car. 

For the rest of the day, I washed my shame and stupidity away by telling as many people as I could about what happened. I felt terrible, but if there's one thing I've learned as a parent it's that the severity of a mistake is not measured by its action but rather by its outcome. Although I doubt I'll make that same mistake again - tomorrow, Hide-A-Key.

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