Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The missing keys

If you follow me on Facebook, you saw my very brief tale of changing a blown-out trailer tire on the shoulder of a major highway with traffic whooshing past at 70. But I didn’t tell about the keys.

The blown tire was on our camper-trailer. I keep a hydraulic bottle jack in a small front compartment of the trailer, accessible through a locked hatch. After struggling in the blazing sun for nearly an hour to get the tire safely changed, we secured everything, put away the tools and the jack, and made the trailer ready to resume the trip home.

The spare had been a little low on air, so I drove slowly down the shoulder for about 2 miles to the nearest gas station/convenience store. I aired the tire while Carol went inside to buy us LARGE cold drinks. I had sweated away at least a quart of body fluid and was shaky with exertion and dehydration.

We rested there for a few minutes standing in the gas station parking area while I gulped the icy liquid. Carol then asked, “Where are the camper keys you used to lock the hatch when you put the jack away?”

I gave her my best blank look, patted my pockets, glanced around at the front of the trailer tongue area, and shrugged.

“Well, where did you put them?” I told her I didn’t know. I remembered securing the jack and locking the hatch, and then I . . . what? Did I put them in my pocket? Not there now! Did I set them down on the trailer tongue? Not there now! Did I toss them into the open tool box I had been using?

We opened the back of the SUV and rummaged through the tool box.

No keys.

I struggled to think back, but there was just no memory of the keys after locking that little hatch. We decided I must have laid them on the trailer tongue and left them there. Surely they fell off while we crept down the shoulder looking for an air hose for the tire.

I was ready to write them off and drive home. We had others (duplicates), and I could get more made. But no; we had to go back and look for them!

We pulled the trailer out of the gas station and back onto the opposite side of this 4-lane divided highway. I located a crossover beyond the point of our blowout, waited for traffic to clear, and retraced our path to the spot of changing the tire. There I stopped and Carol got out and searched.

No keys.

Well, maybe they fell off the tongue between here and the gas station! We crept along the shoulder of the road scanning for this small ring of about 5 keys with a blue plastic/rubber rectangular tag or grip attached, while traffic kept roaring past. It should have been obvious if it had been there. No luck.

I was sure the keys would have landed and stayed right where they fell, since I had been driving so slowly with the soft tire. They couldn’t possibly have “bounced” into the weeds!

Back at the gas station we parked again, got out and scrutinized the area where I had turned in. Nothing.

I gave Carol a look of resignation and said, “They’re gone. It’s my fault. Let’s just go home and I’ll get more copies made.”

She nodded but stood there, hands in her shorts pockets, as if thinking. A strange look came over her face.

She jerked out her right hand holding the key ring! It had evidently been in her pocket all along.

We laughed and laughed and laughed.

I KNOW I locked that little hatch, but I have NO MEMORY of handing her the keys. She has NO MEMORY of taking them from me, or picking them up, or putting them in her pocket. She also says she checked her pockets several times after we discovered the keys were missing.

We decided we are both senile.

Or idiots.

Or both!


Tracye said...

Love it!

So glad you found them!

kenju said...

I am so glad to know that you both could laugh about it. If that had been me, I'd be dead now (and not by suicide.)