Monday, March 17, 2008


I am SO not a morning person.

The only thing that allows me to function as a somewhat productive member of society is the morning ritual. Set the brain to autopilot and hopefully wake up at work. Complete all steps efficiently and I make it to work on time. If anything louses up, I'm late. I hate being late. Almost as much as my boss hates me being late.

Everyday's the same. Crawl out of bed. Plop down in computer chair. Suck some coffee and Google up the morning headlines. (I suppose, as a newspaper employee and all, that I should tell you how I get all of the day's pertinent info from my morning paper. Truth be told, my neighbor steals my paper every day before I awaken. I'm pretty sure she uses it to line her vast multitudes of birdcages. I'd say something, but I'd hate to jeopardize our market reach to the much- coveted cockatiel demographic.)

Eventually I drag myself into the shower and throw on some clothes (hopefully in that order.) Grab a coat. Walk to car. Unlock car...

And that's where I froze up last Friday. After doing the hand-in-pocket shimmy for comically too long, I finally realized that I had left my car keys inside. So I trot back up to the apartment... but they're not there. In fact, they're nowhere to be seen whatsoever.

When something is lost, a new kind of ritual takes over that defies all senses of logic and reason. This usually involves two things:

(1) Looking in inane places. Hmm, did I set them inside the microwave? No. Okay, hmm, maybe they fell into the toilet. Nope, not there either. How about this drawer I haven't opened since the mid-1990's?

(2) Checking, re-checking, and re-re-checking my pants pocket, as though my first four searches somehow weren't thorough enough. This invariably ends in me emptying all of my pockets onto the kitchen counter to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that wee key faeries didn't sneak them into my pocket while I wasn't looking.

By this time, I'm in full panic mode and breaking a sweat. Five minutes later, I give up. My car key has obviously somehow been sucked from my apartment in some kind of anti-matter vortex. No choice but to call a cab.

I say "A" cab because it seems that, in the Quad Cities, there is only one. Seriously, I think I've had to use a taxi five times in my life, and every time, it's been the same dude driving. And whenever you need him, he's in Silvis, or Dewitt, or Djibouti.

Keys don't just get up and walk away. That's when I started looking at my cats with a harsh glare. They sure looked innocent. Maybe TOO innocent. I was just about to interrogate when my cab showed.

After a nice five minute lecture from left-field on the FDA's regulations of hot dogs (Why, cabbie guy? Why at 9 a.m.? I was ALREADY sick to my stomach!) and a $20 hole in my pocket (that's $.54 PER BLOCK,) I made it to work. As soon as I could, I called my dealership to find out what would happen if my key was, in fact, lost in the ether.

"No problem," said the parts dude. "I can order you up a new one. It runs about $150. And you'll need to get it programmed, that's another $50." $200? FOR A KEY???

"Well, yeah," he explained. "These electronic keys have some pretty serious technology."

Now, I own a remote control that runs my TV, stereo, X-Box, DVD player, and I'm pretty sure it can make you coffee if you ask nicely. It cost me $20. Serious technology, my fanny. That settled it, I needed to find my key. And the only way I could do it was with the help of those I call the SuperFriends.

"GREAT NEWS!" I exclaimed to friend Jason over the phone. "You've been selected to participate in the 1st Annual Shane Brown Celebrity Pro-Am Treasure Hunt!"

"Uh oh," came the reply.

"At great personal expense and sacrifice, I have hidden one slightly used key to my car. The first one who finds it shall be declared WINNER!"

He didn't buy it, but he still came over after work, as did my friend Linn. We tore the place up. We dared disturb the fragile and delicate ecosystem of the underside of my couch. The upshot of this was finding $42 in pocket change, but no key. We decided the last step would be to cut open the lining of the couch and learn what exactly comprised the bulbous tumor of debris sticking out of its back corner.

"Okay," I said, but I'd gotten so warm I first needed to lose the sweater I was wearing. I went to toss it into the hamper when a gleam of silver caught my eye. There, in the very bottom of my clothes hamper, was my elusive key. How it got there remains a mystery. I wasn't near the hamper the day before, nor had yesterday's pants made it that far yet.

It took a while to get the apartment back in shape -- and the Tumor O' Mystery remains embedded in my couch. Perhaps one day I'll open it like a time capsule and reminisce about the rogue French fry I spilled down a crack in the summer of '06. For now, though, I'm content just to drive to work without learning exactly what by-products comprise a hot dog. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As always, just what I needed to scatter the vaguely gray clouds from another day pounding away at the fancy-pants wireless keyboard and trying (probably unsuccessfully) to avoid the somewhat condescending gaze of The Boss. Being one of those fortunate souls who have never lost keys to the vortex of the clothes hamper, I am forever grateful to whichever god blessed us with TiVo and XM Radio, and who watches out for those of us who who are too busy doing guy stuff, to be bothered with trivialities like keeping track of stuff I might need later. Many thanx for your (not-frequent-enuff) posts. Love and (non-gay) kisses.
Somewhat Overweight Jon