Life Sentences: Locked Out, Again

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My first mistake was buying a car with a key that you need to open the door and start the engine. A horrible faux pas that has changed my life for the worse.

Sometimes it takes one or two … or three missteps to learn a lesson. My first mistake was buying a car with a key that you need to open the door and start the engine. A horrible faux pas that has changed my life for the worse.

When shopping for a car, I wrote down everything I wanted. High off the ground so I didn’t keep scraping my chassis on the road, causing an embarrassing skriiitching sound as I went along. Power seats so that it would be easy to readjust when someone taller borrowed my car. A rear-view camera so I could parallel park without peril.

I did not ask for remote entry and push-button ignition. My old car had it, my husband’s car has it, and almost everyone I know has it. I just assumed

When we signed the papers and I was ready to leave with my new car, the salesman handed me a key fob with an actual key in it!

“What’s this?” I said, “Did you give me the wrong fob? I like being able to open the door with a touch and start my car with another touch!”

Three times, in very close succession, I have locked that key in my car, and I must say it has a very secure locking system when the key is inside.  

My old car would kick up a series of loud beeps and refuse to close if I tried to lock the key fob in the trunk.

You’ve heard about my Christmas trip to the packing store when I locked myself out and had to hang out for three hours in the crowded store until a roadside assistance guy came to my rescue.

To make a long story endless, I drove down to Fortescue one spring morning. I had some free time, and I went for breakfast at a local café that has a view of the marshes and the surrounding bay. It’s calming. I brought my laptop, as I often do. 

When I drove into the parking lot, I grabbed up my purse, which had my key zipped safely inside, and looked down at my laptop.  

“I’d better lock this in the trunk,” I thought.

“But look around. No one is here to steal it. Just go in and have your breakfast,” I answered.

My luck has not been wonderful lately, so I decided to lock it up. 

I got out, wrestling my purse and the laptop. Opened the trunk, and …

… Instead of the computer, I dropped in my purse with the key inside, and closed the trunk. Slam! 

“O Jaysus, have mercy on me in my extremity!” I cried, like an Irish penitent. 

Here I was again. But this time, I was not without hope.  After the last debacle, I bought a spare key; put it in a magnetic box, and my husband found a place to attach it to the outside of the car. I did not remember where he put the spare key, and I did a search. No luck. I dialed my husband at work (he just loves when I do that), and he did not remember, either, but he thought it was behind the real wheel on the driver’s side. It was not. In fact, there was no metal in the wheel well, just some rubberized plastic. I scooted and squatted by all four wheels and crunched my knees into the oyster-shell gravel. Two café regulars drove up in a truck.

“Excuse me, sirs. Does either of you know how to break into a car?”

Desperation had made me shameless.

Pretty soon, the two gentlemen were crawling under the car, and they didn’t see a key box, either.

I told them this had happened before.

“Why don’t you just duct tape a spare key to your shoe?” one of them chortled.


The café waitress was nice enough to let me use the phone, and a local mechanic came down the road to get me going. In minutes, he popped the lock, and I gratefully retrieved my purse. 

Boy, I hated to part with that much cash, though. I had to pay for my egg sandwich with an American Express card.

Here’s the kicker: My husband found the magnetic box, under the back bumper, securely fastened to a metal plate. 

 So there you have it. Locked Out: The Sequel.

I won’t bore you again with this subject, probably, but wouldn’t it be fine if Marisa Tomei played me in the movie?

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