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>