The last time I locked myself out of the house was in the summer of 1995 when I was 20 years old. It was a dumb mistake, and ever since then, I have been paranoid about making sure that I had my keys, wallet, and cellphone on my person at all times.
So, I was dumbfounded at finding myself out of the house at night, locked out of my car, without my cell phone, holding a baby. I don’t make mistakes like this. Sure, I make my fair share of dumb mistakes, but not ones like this.
I was out picking up our farm share, and normally I take our two-year-old daughter to do this, but tonight I had my four-month-old son. I normally have just one set of keys in my pocket, but today I had two since I had taken our second car to a mechanic during the day. And normally, I remember to take my cell phone out of its holder on the dashboard, but the baby was crying, and I had rushed to take him out and pick up the farm share.
When I got back to the car laden down with two bags of groceries, 15 pounds of baby, and 10 pounds of car seat, I reached into my pocket to hit the button to pop the trunk. I wasn’t used to have two sets of keys in there, and I found myself fumbling with the wrong one. In the end, I had to pull it out to look at it and make sure I had the the right key. When I had it, I popped the trunk, threw the bags in, and closed the lid.
When I got to the side of the car to open the door to put in the baby, I discovered my pocket now only had the keys to the other car in it, and the keys to this car were no longer in my hands. I circled the car three times, but no keys. I checked all my other pockets, and this left me with the only possible conclusion – I had dropped the keys into the trunk along with the bags.
And so, there I was. Locked out of my car, away from home, without my cell phone, holding the baby.
I knew there was only one option. I was going to have to walk home, explain to my wife what happened, get the other set, and walk back. After about 20 seconds to get over the shock, I started trudging back home, lugging the 15 pounds of baby and 10 pounds of car seat. As my shoulder muscles started to spasm from holding this very awkward load (car seat ergonomics do not allow them to be carried more than 20 feet with any comfort), I started to think this must be the worst night ever.
As soon as I thought this, I realized how ridiculous it was. In general, I am a pretty positive person, and when things go wrong, I try to think about all of the things that could have made a problem much worse. For example:
- The baby could have been locked inside of the car
- It could have been pouring rain, like it had been all day
- The baby could have been still screaming his head off, rather than sleeping finally
- It could have been miles from the house, rather than a 10 minute walk
Fortunately, my wife was very understanding when I got home, and it was a much faster walk sans baby to go back and get the car.
I’ll have to be doubly paranoid about my keys from now on.