Or, The Curious Adventures of the Broken Car Key
A few months ago the plastic part on the top of my car key broke. The key still works fine, but I can no longer connect it to my key fob. This has turned out to be more of a problem than originally anticipated.
Let's first discuss the trip back from my family reunion in Albuquerque. Things were going along fine, at first. And then, as I turned on the cruise control and moved foot off the brake, the hazard lights suddenly began blinking. This freaked me out a bit, and I quickly turned the cruise control off and stepped on the gas to see if it would help. It did -- the hazard lights turned off as suddenly as they'd begun. Things were fine for another 20 minutes or so. And then the hazard lights began flashing again. I didn't have the cruise control on this time, but I started to think that maybe there was something going on with the electrical system, so I turned off the air conditioning and the stereo. This seemed to solve the problem, at least temporarily. But soon enough, there were those hazards again. They began going off more and more often, as I kept trying to make adjustments to see what would help. And then another problem popped up. As I was passing someone, my horn suddenly started honking repeatedly. I tapped it, and it shut off. But maybe 15 minutes later, it started honking again, and this time I couldn't get it to turn off for probably a full minute.
Early on in these difficulties, I said that I hoped this wouldn't be so serious that we'd need to stop and have someone look at the car, since I'd rather have my own trusty mechanic look at it. And I mentioned one of the benefits with my mechanic: if it turned out that I was just being an idiot -- like, say, the time I drove around with my window down for a whole month because I thought the mechanism wasn't functioning, and it turned out the window was just locked -- he'd tell me, in the nicest way possible, that there was nothing actually wrong with the car, rather than making something up and charging me to fix an imaginary problem. Wouldn't it be funny, I thought, if this turned out to be something equally stupid.
Some time later, after making frantic phone calls to my parents and to some relatives who lived down the road, I suddenly started connecting the dots. There were only two weird things going on: the hazard lights blinking and the horn honking repetitively. And these two things have one main thing in common: the panic button. Because my key was broken, only the key itself was in the ignition, while the key fob was in my pant pocket, being jostled every time I moved my leg to, say, let off on the gas when I turned on the cruise control. Although the horn and the hazards weren't going off at the same time like you'd expect, it still seemed like there was probably a connection here. So, to test it out, I pulled the key fob out of my pocket and put it somewhere safe. Sure enough, it was smooth sailing from then on. And we had a very nice visit with the relatives. I was also glad that I solved this mystery before bothering my mechanic once again with my stupidity, even though he's very nice about it.
This was the most dramatic problem, but I've had much more trouble with misplacing my keys recently, now that they're not all connected. That car key is also kind of slippery, so I've dropped it in countless places. Luckily, I've always heard it fall and been able to retrieve it immediately. I have not always found it so easily when it's been lost, however.
A few weeks ago, I lost my key and couldn't find it anywhere. I ended up pulling out my spare key and using that. Just a month ago, one of my college roommates reminded me of the time I lost my dorm key for about a month and then found it, quite by happenstance, in my backpack. With this story in mind, I searched my backpack for my car key, thinking that it would be funny if I'd managed to lose my key in my backpack again. But I had no luck.
And then today, while walking out of the church building with a friend, I realized that the key I'd just pulled out of my purse was my regular car key, not the spare I thought I was going to see. It took me quite by surprise. When I looked in my purse later, though, I now couldn't find the spare. And then I remembered that I'd gotten this key from my backpack earlier in the morning. I wondered if possibly I just hadn't realized that it was the regular key when I retrieved it from the backpack. Sure enough, the spare turned out to still be in my backpack. So yes, I apparently did lose my key in my backpack for a substantial amount of time yet again.
They say those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. I remember it all right, but despite my best efforts I seem to have a knack for repeating my more stupid moments. It's a gift.