So there I was, driving myself to Safeway in my little, fuel-efficient Honda Accord, mentally running my grocery list through my distracted mind. (Let me take this moment to say Oh My God! at how expensive gas is right now. My Ford Expedition has been parked and dejected now for a good month and has been replaced by its slightly less attractive sister, the fourteen year-old Honda who, despite her aging body, has been plugging away at efficiently taking us from Point A to Point B).
Okay. So, I reached my destination and pulled into a parking spot. I sat in the car for a few minutes trying to sort through my coupons and compile my master list so as to lessen my time spent in the store, thus reducing my opportunities to roll past the hot food section and acquire a jalapeno popper or two. Once I organized my coupon stash, I opened my car door and stepped out to my fate.
A little backstory: I bought my Honda in 1997, three years before I married Jeremy. I was on an, ahem, limited budget and was offered the Value Package version of the Accord. Read: lots of great air conditioning but no power locks or windows. For years I rocked the boho-chic with the manual doors and toned my biceps with the manual windows. A couple of years ago, Jeremy took pity on me and helped me join the 21st century by procuring me some after-market automatic locks. Well, folks. Pretty much they have been the worst locks I could have ever asked for. Half the time they worked, half the time they didn’t. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been stuck inside the car frantically hitting the unlock button while trying to outwardly maintain my cool as I’m picturing the thousand different ways I’m going to die. So, Jer and I decided it might be safer and less heart attack-inducing for us to forego the auto lock and head back to manual operation. The other piece of critical information is that Jer lost his set of keys over a year ago and we currently only have one key for our Ford Expedition and as we have redefined procrastination in buying a $75 replacement, it has remained critical to not lose that key.
When I got out of the car, I stepped onto a giant storm drain grate and as I reached down to lock the car door I realized that I had brought the set with the Expedition key. I thought to myself, “Man, that would totally suck to drop my keys.”
And then I dropped my keys.
Down the storm drain.
Conveniently located right below my car door.
In the parking lot.
After we’ve had rain for three days straight.
It was as if there was a magnetic pull forcing the keys from between my fingers down into the blackened sludge bubbling beneath the drain. I’d love to say I moved into action immediately. But what I actually did was stand there, staring into the sludge, willing the whole situation to reverse itself and place my car keys back into my hands. I gazed into the storm drain, hands on hips, shaking my head. I startled this poor woman innocently making her way into the grocery store when I looked at her and yelled, “Really?!? I mean…really?!?” She clutched her purse to her side, rushing into the store daring to glance back at the crazy lady standing at the storm drain.
I needed to call Jer. I rummaged around in my purse trying to find my phone and realized I had left it on the charger at home. This is when the tears starting forming in the corners of my eyes. I had no keys. No phone. And no cheese. (Okay, so I was a little emotional.) I threw my purse onto the trunk of my car and I heard a distinguishable jingle at the bottom. I ripped through the contents only to find our second set of keys sitting at the bottom! Hallelujah! I jumped back into the car, threw her in drive and beat feet for home.
I ran inside the house and broke the news to Jer. He put on some Carhartts, a short-sleeved t shirt and grabbed his gloves. Off to Safeway we went where he removed the grate, miraculously located my keys in a foot of sludge and reminded me to get cheese.
The whole ordeal exhausted me. And we still haven’t bought a replacement Expedition key. I guess life lessons are a little lost on us.