Monday, August 23, 2010
COLUMN: VW Key
I've said it many times before in this column, but never has it rung more true: I am NOT a morning person.
Each day, I rely on my alarm clock to pull me out of bed and set Zombie Shane on autopilot. Zombie Shane's purpose is singular: to get me showered, dressed, and en route to work while using the least amount of brainpower possible. How this is accomplished is beyond me, but based on the garbage lining the floor of my car, I'm going to say that it somehow involves coffee.
Truth be told, I have an intricate system of morning rituals that help me glide painlessly into consciousness. Get up, listen to the radio for a few minutes, visit the restroom, peruse the headlines on the internet, turn on the TV and allow Al Roker to insult my intelligence for five minutes, hop in the shower, throw on some clothes, and get out the door. All of this is timed in such a manner to allow me to get to work with exactly 4 minutes to spare, which is usually how long it takes to visit yonder caffeine merchant.
There's just one problem: I've moved. I'm in a new abode where everything is NEW and WEIRD and DIFFERENT and I'm still living out of boxes. Zombie Shane is NOT amused. My rituals have ground to a halt. I can't peruse the headlines on the internet because right now my computer is on the floor of my kitchen. I can't hear the radio from the living room and I can't see the TV from the bedroom. Things are so messed up right now that last week, I inadvertently arrived at work eighteen minutes early. EARLY! The horror!!!
But I've been at the new house for a couple of weeks, so things should be getting in a groove, right? Zombie Shane should be able to once again handle the mundane tasks of the morning, no? Ergo, I woke up today with brainpower firmly in the OFF position. Listened to the radio -- check. Restroom -- check. Morning headlines via my iPhone -- check. Al Roker -- check. Shave, shower, clothes -- check, check, and check. Just a last minute pocket inspection and we're clear to depart from Door #1: Phone... wallet... house keys... car key?
The car key was gone. Zombie Shane only knows one course of action in this event: Check the pocket again in hopes that magical key-finding pocket fairies returned it to its rightful place. No dice, and worse yet, no key. I know, I know... "If you put your key in one place when you came home every night, you'd never lose it." Thanks, mom. Well, if I was responsible enough to have a "key place," I'd probably be responsible enough not to have to rely on a "key place" to find my stupid keys because I wouldn't lose them in the first place. I looked all around the house -- that key was GONE.
There was only one place where it could be dwelling. When we moved the couch into the new house, we were pretty amazed at the collection of change and pocket possessions that had fallen through the cracks and into the dread underbowels of the Key-Eating Sofa. I started feeling under the couch. No keys, just a bunch of yuck and a freshly pinched finger. Ew. I pulled the little ripcord that opens the reclining end of the couch and felt under the footrest, but no key.
That was when I remembered the spare. I've always had a replacement key on-hand for just an occasion like this. It lurks in a junk drawer, but the remote lock stopped working the day I accidentally ran it through the washer/dryer. Still, I bet the key itself would work in the door lock, right? So I grab everything I need and go racing out to the car with plenty of time to spare. Put the key in the lock, watched as the lock disengaged, and opened my car door to the trumpeting call of victory.
It's funny, though, because I didn't remember the call of victory sounding like, "ENGH! ENGH! ENGH! ENGH! ENGH!"
Yes, my broken spare car key allowed me to quickly and efficiently set off my car alarm and NOT let me shut it off. So now it's 8:30 in the morning and I'm serenading all my new neighbors with my stupidity.
"GOSH!" I yelled out to my family friendly newspaper readers. Well, actually, maybe I chose a different word -- I can't quite remember, but I do recall it was four letters long. "Stupid goshgosh gosher-goshing key!" So yes, Rock Island, if you were serenaded with ENGH! ENGH! ENGH! last Monday, you can thank me later.
I ran back into the house to intensify the hunt. After checking to make sure the fairies didn't put the key under the recliner for the second time, I slammed the recliner shut and went to move on to the next hiding place. That's when the couch began screaming at me.
I can't say that the morning wasn't educational. I learned something very important. I learned that if you're like me and you think, "Gee, there's no worse noise I could think of to hear at 8:30 in the morning than a car alarm blaring," TRY CLOSING YOUR RECLINER ON A CAT.
I immediately ran to the couch's ripcord and pulled it... right out of the couch and into my hand.
Let's recap. I'm now standing in my living room, drenched in sweat, FREAKING OUT, listening to my car alarm blare outside, while directly in front of me one of my cats is howling mercilessly because a couch just ate it -- and the release lever for the couch just snapped off in my hand. Or, if you need an audio translation, it was kinda like this:
ENGH! ENGH! gosh! gosh! ENGH! ROOOOOOWWWWWR! gosh! ENGH! ROOOOOOOWWWWR! gosh! gosh! ENGH!
I would have counted backwards from 10 to 1 like Jack from "Lost," but there was no time. I took one breath... then ran to the couch, popped open the recliner with a mighty heave, got hissed at in the face by a very ticked-off but thankfully uninjured cat, ran outside, jiggled the broken key until the car locked and the alarm stopped, then went inside and did the only manly, responsible thing I could think of: I called my girlfriend for help.
Happily, Amy raced over here, picked me up, took me to work, drove back to my house, promptly found the stupid missing key under the one section of couch I hadn't thoroughly checked, played with the poor cat to ensure it wouldn't be permanently maladjusted, then picked me up for lunch and brought me back to my car and my key.
Morning people suck -- in an "I-love-you-and-owe-you-one-bigtime" kinda way.