15 September 2011

A Dog, A Van, and an Irritating Man

She-Who-Cannot-Be-Trained, (Cobie) locked me out of the van. She must know I want to give her away.

I spend two and a half hours each morning getting boys out of bed and ready for school. It sounds like a marathon, but it's more like a prolonged sprint. Two and Three get up at 6:00 in order to catch buses at 6:55 and 7:05. Four rises at 6:30, because his van arrives at 7:30. I wake Five after returning from Three's bus stop, so he can have Lego building time before we get his bus at 8:15.  One rolls out of bed after Four leaves, and finally, departs at 8:35. Then I make the coffee and sit my ass down.

I take Cobie in the van for all the bus runs. It gets her out of Leo's hair (literally), and it burns off some of her early morning energy. Yesterday, she jumped in, we drove to Four's stop, and I left her and the keys on the front seat while I got him off to school. When I opened the door, she tried to make a break for it, no doubt having spied a chase-worthy chipmunk. I partially shut the door, but it got stuck in that weird door limbo, so I shut it all the way, and pulled again.



I knew my spare keys were in Chicago with the Captain. I started walking home anyway, because I still had one kid to get out the door. The bus stop isn't far from my house, but the walk back is all uphill. I was in my daily uniform of black velour pants and the t-shirt I slept in, both of which got clingy right quick in the morning humidity. About 100 yards from the driveway I made a promise to reacquaint my ill-equipped cardiovascular system with the elliptical. As soon as I fix the inexplicable, lingering foot pain I've been nursing for weeks. Panting, I hurried inside to make sure One was ready to go, threw his lunchbox in his backpack, and called the police.

The police are out of the door-jimmying business. Unless you have a baby locked in the car. A human baby. I called my Kia dealer, hoping they could unlock the door remotely. No dice. I hitched a ride on One's bus back down to the scene, called Kia roadside assistance, and checked on Cobie. She was asleep. I played a few rounds of Word Warp on my phone, and texted the Captain. I figured I'd give him a chuckle.

The Captain never locks his keys in the car, because he always removes them from the ignition, exits the vehicle, and locks it with the clicker. He locks the car every time he parks it. He locks it in our driveway, even if it's broad daylight, and we're outside. He likes routine, and this incident (and all the other times I've locked the keys in the car, especially that time outside Starbucks the night before we were driving to Florida) will now further validate his OCD approach.

When the Captain called me back, he remembered that our dealer told us we could use our cellphones to unlock the car. He clicked the remote next to the phone, and I held my phone near my door, while his colleague in Chicago laughed and laughed in the background. It didn't work.

I played more Word Warp.

The locksmith called me, fifteen minutes after his scheduled arrival, to say he'd been given the wrong town and contact number. I think he just heard wrong, and was covering his ass. I was snippy.

"Hold on," he said, "don't get upset. We're not going to fight. I'm on my way."

There is nothing that makes me angrier than some man telling me to calm down. When Two tells me to relax after he's irritated me by (a) not listening when I am speaking to him, or (b) sighing in exasperation when he actually does, or (c) basically not doing any of the things I told him to, I want to punch him. So if I don't even know you, dude, don't tell me to fucking moderate my tone of voice.

Eventually, "Roadside Assistance" arrived. He was some young guy in a Honda with a Slim Jim. He tried to make excuses, while I glared and filled out his form, which informed me, in CAPITAL LETTERS, that the assistants work on tips. I signed, and thanked him verbally, not monetarily. One hour and forty-five minutes after Cobie stood on my automatic door lock, I arrived back home.

This morning, I took the keys out of the van.


  1. Oh, dear.
    I, too always lock the car from outside and only by the clicker. But I also learned the hard way. I locked my keys in the car while i was triple-parked in the drop-off zone at Newark airport. I got on the plane and left Alexa $20 to get it unlocked. Apparently it is not uncommon at the airport...

  2. I once locked my keys in my car WHILE IT WAS STILL RUNNING. I've locked my keys in my office twice this week. Why I can't sign up for AAA for my office, I'll never know.

    None of this, however, touches Sarah's adventure earlier this year when her toddler locked himself in the car. I think she still has PTSD from the event, so she might not be able to comment. I will tell you that it ended safely.

  3. Oh honey. My greatest hit was when my mom was sick and I had gone to the store in a dead run to get essentials and get home and ran into my grandma who wanted my help loading her groceries after I loaded mine. So I locked 100$ of groceries in my hot truck with the keys in july. My grandma then left me there because she had to get her perishables home before they spoilt. I cried.

    When I traded that truck in, I went for the Ford keypad option. I now lock my keys in on purpose and just put in the code to open the doors. It is teh awesome for flaky chicks like moi who like to dump their keys in the cupholder when they turn off the ignition.

    PS Being told to calm down pisses me off bad.

  4. Megan, Megan, Megan: Really? You're trying to deflect attention from your foibles by suggesting that the Captain's manly, logical approach to not locking his keys in the car is due to OCD? I bet that the Captain, like me, never has to turn the house upside-down looking for his keys either. This is not OCD. This is rational, manly practicality. Not that I'm suggesting in any way that there are man vs. woman issues at play here. I would never do that.

    By the way, I titter at the thought of the Captain clicking the remote into his cell phone. I think you guys may have watched that VW/Darth Vader commercial too many times. (Actually, do you think ol' Cappy was really doing it, or was he just goofing on you?)

    Now, however mad you get at me, just let me be clear: I am NOT suggesting that you calm down.

  5. @Chrysanthe: I bet the airport police carry the Slim Jims on their belts.

    @Carrie: I read that story, and related back how I locked infant One in a running car outside his neurologist's office. Apparently, I did not learn from that event.

    I think office AAA is perfectly reasonable.

    @Lora: Keypads! Brilliant! And my next vehicle will be a truck.

    @Maccabee:Said the fellow hand-washer...

    It's true. He would have been happier if he stayed married to you.

  6. Oh boy. That really sucks. I found out about the police intervention thing when I closed the door to the car with the keys on the seat after my son had hit the automatic lock, unbeknownst to me. I had put them on the seat in order to have both hands free to buckle my then two-year-old daughter into her car seat. It was ninety-eight degrees out and we were leaving to find air conditioning. As it turns out, the 2001 Dodge Grand Caravan is a mighty secure car. Slim-jimming doesn't work. Nor does hitting the window with a police officer's mag-light. What you really need is the claw end of a good hammer. And insurance to replace the window.

  7. Anonymous16.9.11

    My comment was eaten, or perhaps locked out. Never mind. Glad you are safe and you didn't have to strangle a dog. Or an ignorant person of the male and stupid variety.

  8. I used to be so bad at locking my keys in my car. I haven't done it in a long while - knocking on the pressed wood of this desk.
    In fact, I'm kind of obsessive now about knowing where my keys are at all times. One extreme to another. That's me.
    I can't believe the cell phone thing didn't work. It's in that commercial. Is it possible the people of television advertising misled us?


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