Friday, October 13, 2006


Every now and again, I find myself channelling dogpossum. I did it in a recent blog post when I imagined you telling me to ‘grow up, baby’, in response to my complaint about the sense of malaise that had me staying at home last Friday. That might make dp sound a bit mean, which is not my intention, since she is far from being so. You need to know how she delivers this directive, not to any specific person as such, but rather in conversation about someone who has tried her patience with just so much nonsense that the time for excuses is over; ‘baby’ is delivered without the usual sing-song that one might infuse it with when speaking to an actual baby, or a loved one, instead the tone is flat and the full force of the connotation of ‘baby’ as a stage in life where one has not developed beyond total immaturity is imparted. I’ve always found dp’s use of ‘baby’ in this sense, in discussion about someone who hasn’t been an actual baby for a long time, completely hilarious.

I’m thinking about it now, because after the afternoon and evening I had Wednesday, I have imagined another of dp’s responses that would be forthcoming if I told her of the rather trying events that occurred. Dp would say something like: ‘That’s a sad story’, and she would mean it in a sympathetic way, but there would be just a slight sense that it wasn’t the end of the world, that you had got yourself a bit worked up over something that didn’t warrant the energy; and best of all you would be prompted to laugh at yourself. So, here’s a sad story.

It began when I arrived home from the University, via the city where I picked up some stinky cheese and olives, only to discover that I didn’t have my keys on me. Anywhere. You know the scenario. You pat all your pockets; tip out every bag you have onto your front doorstep and scrabble through the contents, all to no avail. I called the real estate, which is just up the road from me, to see if I could get hold of a spare key. The person who answered the phone told me she was from sales and the property management staff had gone home half an hour ago. And then she laughed. I’m not sure that was the best thing she could have done at that point. I briefly wondered whether the agents weren’t supposed to be a bit more helpful in such situations, or at least offer some kind of after hours assistance. I always feel as though I’m speaking another language when I try to communicate with real estate people; I find them singularly unhelpful and uncomprehending. I want to get away from them as quickly as possible, which probably doesn’t make me the best communicator in such circumstances.

Anyway, I suppose I wasn’t thinking terribly clearly myself because moments like these always remind me of my relative isolation. I start to think I should have flatmates or a partner who would turn up with their own key and let me into the flat. If such people were in my life, then I would only have to worry about finding or replacing the keys the following day, instead of trying to figure out then and there how to locate my keys, or failing that where I could go until I could organise entry into my own home.

I decided I must have left my keys at the University, so I caught two buses back there and organised for a security guard to let me back into my office. That went well enough. I remained surprisingly calm—when I’ve done this before, I haven’t coped too well. The trouble really began when my keys weren’t in my office. I tried to think what I could possibly have done with them. Did I put them down on the counter at the supermarket when I was putting my groceries into my Stuff-It bag, hurriedly, since I was trying not to hold up the cashier when, unsmilingly, he held my change out to me? Had they fallen out of my pocket on the bus? I had no idea.

I had to think what to do. I knew I couldn’t go home, unless I wanted to pay a fortune for a locksmith, which I didn’t. I tried calling the supermarket, but by this time it was approaching 7pm and they had obviously closed, because there was no answer. I tried calling the transport information line to see if anyone had handed my keys in to lost property. I was told to call the city council, which I did, but they told me to call back on another number the next day after 3.15pm, when the lost property arrived from the depots all around the city. Sigh.

That’s when I called my sister and asked her to rescue me. I explained the situation and asked, ‘So, I was wondering if you would come and rescue me?’ Happily, she agreed. In fact, luckily she was home to agree, because she’s a nurse who does shift work. And luckily I lost my keys this week and not next week, because then she and her husband would have left for the Paris trip she won after entering a competition at a supermarket. She came and picked me up at the University and brought her two dogs with her. I stayed over her place that night, way over on the other side of town.

The next morning I dropped into the supermarket to see if my keys had been handed in. Although my hopes were raised for a moment when I was asked ‘What kind of keys?’, alas they didn’t have them. Nor did the bus service manage to locate them, although they did say that sometimes lost property takes a few days to get to the office (!). One of my office mates was very sympathetic and he suggested a system whereby we would hide his office key in a mutually agreed place, so we could both come and go as we pleased. It worked well, but I knew I’d have to part with $15 to get a new key, sooner rather than later.

Now I’ve replaced all my keys, but my memory stick is gone forever, as is my nifty key-ring complete with a red light that I got from the National Gallery of Victoria. I feel a bit dumb, as well as completely mystified as to the lost keys’ location. Any suggestions for how not to lose one’s keys would be welcome. I have briefly contemplated getting a piercing and attaching my keys to that; in such a scenario, if I absent-mindedly forgot about my keys and let them go, I would feel a searing pain before they became detached from my person, which at least would allow me to relocate them promptly.

< / sad story>


clare said...

Some one stole my hand bag earlier this year which contained my keys (and my purse and a load of other stuff)so I know exactly how you feel, Galaxy. You have my full sympathies.

Galaxy said...

Thanks, Clare. I did think I was quite lucky not to have lost anything else. There might have been tears if I had.

dogpossum said...

Dang, girl, that is a sad story. I know exactly how you feel. And I can imagine the way having to catch two buses back to the university would have dragged on you. Lucky thing that sister was available, huh?

I hate those sorts of things too - it reminds me of how poor I am and how, if I was a rich person, I would just have been able to call in a locksmith (hell, I would have owned the house, or been renting in a higher price bracket and had the real estate agents kissing my arse).
Someone needs to purchase the tshirts for MLX wholesale and then sell them off over the weekend. Last year I did it, shelling out about $500. I have never been so anxious and worried that I wouldn't sell them all and recover my capital. The thing is, if I was on a safer income, I could afford to buy the shirts and then maybe not make a full profit.... though I guess fear of not-selling prompted some seriously keen selling on my part.

But I think it's these things that remind you of how your position is more perilous when you have less money - and I consider myself fairly well off compared to the amounts I have lived on in the past ($300 a fortnight? Dang - I remember when I first got on the scholarship and went from $300 to $600 a fortnight - I was rich!).

I probably would have cried though, skirt - I'm big on the crying atm anyway. And I think a bit of a sob to make you feel better would have been useful.
And I don't think you're a baby - a baby wouldn't have been able to solve the problem the way you did.

And recently, at our house, we have been telling ourselves (and each other) to 'Get up!' or 'Shut up!': channeling The Squeeze who once slipped and said 'Shut up!' to me while I was crapping on, and then was immediately terrified for his life. So now I tell myself to 'Get up!' when I can't get out of bed.
It makes me feel tough.

Galaxy said...

Yes, more words to make ourselves feel tough.

I did end up crying the next day. A lady at the bank bore the full expression of my feelings of vulnerability re: financial status. I received a letter in which they overcharged me on the bank fees. I've had a fractious relationship with this bank re: them being all conservative and insisting on nice nuclear family models for guarantoring (wd?). I'm an excellent money manager (no debts), but because I don't have nice parents, or I'm not a nice parent myself with a (male) partner, I've not been deemed worthy over the years.

My sister can't believe I haven't told them where to go, but I never thought any other bank would be any different. Anyway, the lady I cried all over was v.nice and offered to personally negotiate with the bank on my behalf, to see where and why they've been so intransigent towards me. I feel like I grew up a bit.

Rachael Krinks said...

O Sweet Galaxy, that is a sad story but as dog possum said, you solved it like a grown up woman, not a baby.

I frequently leave my house without my keys, and sometimes my wallet, which makes life rather difficult (though not as stressful as losing them) - however as we have a dog door (home made and a bit large) - I just wander a coupla doors down and ask the nice man if I can borrow his children - they climb in the dog door, undo the door and Yay! - problem solved. They think it a big adventure and I am eternally grateful someone is thoughtfully breeding pint sized door openers!

xx Lotsa love

Ampersand said...

Oh, I hate those moments, you poor thing!

Zoe and I trade keys because we live a block from each other and we both get forgetful. Until this year my very slim son could fit through the petdoor, but he's now too long to bend into the space on the other side. It's made me much more conscious about key remembering.

Having a friendly neighbour system is a good one, and so is burying or hiding a key somewhere on the property...

Zoe said...

Oh, I can't tell you the number of times I've been round to Duck's for the key. A LOT more than she's been around for hers.

So I have fashioned a nifty thing from one of those daggy passcard clip/extendable elastic thing so the keys almost never get detached from the bag.

I would also like to speak in favour of a good weep (and I know that Duck's a watery tart too). It releases the endolphins and is very good for you.

David said...

I lost my mobile last week. It was admittedly for the 500th time but this one seems permanent. On the upside, some irreplaceable archival material which I also believed I had lost showed up in a stack of 'tidied up' papers. I'm not telling you this to make you feel better. But you know. Losing things sucks.

Galaxy said...

Thanks for all your sympathy. You have all made me feel better. Now I won't have to get a painful piercing, which I would almost certainly be a baby about.

When I went to get the keys replaced I saw that you could buy a fake rock to hide your keys in. Would the burglars be fooled by that do you think?

In the absence of any children in the neighbourhood, who are small enough to squeeze in through the bars on one of my windows, I think I'll try Zoe's ideas.

David, I saw on your blog that you'd lost your mobile--which sounds a right pain too--and it confirmed there is indeed something in the air/water (since Laura posted her atm card too). Does anybody answer when you call yourself?