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Sunday, September 28, 2014


Losing my car keys has become an occupational hazard recently, despite the fact that I have attempted to overcome the problem by putting them in the side pocket of my bag, immediately after locking the car.  The problem arises when I forget the solution! 

Remembering events from over half a century ago, but not being able to unlock my vehicle due to lack of equipment, is a little bizarre, although I am told that the problem is not unique to me.  Determined not to be the victim of my own disability, I made sure I was aware of the location of my keys on Tuesday evening, as I was going to have to take my car for its annual inspection on Wednesday.  The loss of the apparatus to start to machine would have been catastrophic! 

Before leaving home, early on Wednesday morning, I sent Joe a message to ensure his presence in the shop upon my arrival, and the message was answered in the affirmative.  If nothing else went according to plan today, at least I would start on a high! 

The traffic was very heavy, and those ahead of me moved slower than a snail to enter on to the freeway.  The 'so called' improvements to my perfect road were continuing to slow the flow of vehicles to a crawl.  I steered my smaller automobile into the far lane, and increased, and decreased, acceleration as necessary, until I finally reached the bridge that crosses over the Colorado river.  The remainder of the journey was less stressful, and more fluid.  Coffee was, as always, a delight, and while Joe told me of the success of his trip the previous week, I told him about my disastrous encounter with the younger generation, and the vaguely coffee flavoured hot water!  There was nothing subtle about the smile across the face of my favourite barista before I bid him farewell a little before 9am, and I drove the short distance along the road to the mechanic. 

Driving the rather larger, and less sleek 'loaner' car, that had been loaned, I headed south along the Interstate towards my hairdressing venue.  With an hour to spare, I decided to wander around one of the department stores that offers 'everything for less', under their roof.  Without an agenda, I strolled the aisles, and spotted a small set of metal baskets, on wheels, that would be perfect for the office.  The new desk which was installed when we moved has proven to be slightly less than spacious, and with all the 'must have' items at my finger tips, I have found that there is not enough space to pile my paperwork.  The idea of a 'drinks trolley' had entered my head, but up until now, I had not found the perfect piece of furniture.  The shoes that were on sale, and called out to me as only shoes can call to a woman, may not have been on my list of necessities before I entered the shop, but I could think of so many reasons to have them, rather than not, that they became essential.   I returned to the car, and found that the key was not in the side pocket of my bag.  How was I going to explain this to the mechanic!  I stood by the car, and emptied out the contents of my handbag on to the bonnet, (hood,) furiously searching for the small object, which was nowhere to be found.  Obviously, I had not placed it in the side pocket after I had locked the car, before entering the store.  As I mentally retraced my steps, I felt the blood rush to my face, in total embarrassment.  The key had remained in my hand while I was shopping, and as I returned to the vehicle, purchases in hand, I undertook an old habit, which I have been warned against, over and over, and placed the object between my teeth, to wit, my spare pair of hands!  Feeling rather stupid, I repacked my handbag, removed the keys from between my incisors, and opened the door. 

My hairdresser was waiting for me as I entered the establishment at 10am on the dot!  As we discussed how best to deal with the transformation from red to white, a young woman appeared on the scene with suggestions of her own.  She sang the praises of the artist who was about to perform miracles on my aging head, not realising that I was well aware of his genius!  I smiled politely, and did not utter a word, until she suggested that he use a chemical solution to rid my hair of the red, and 'strip it' of the artificial colour.  It was as if I had gone into slow motion, as the horror struck my ears, and I shouted rather loudly across the salon, in a deep, gruff voice, which reverberated off the walls and back through my head.  'NO!'  The force of my disgruntlement at the suggestion caused all to stop what they were doing, and turn in my direction.  Aware of the commotion I had caused with a two letter word, I tried to soften the blow by commenting that it had taken me a long time to grow the colour out, and I would rather keep away from harsh products that may come into contact with the untreated parts of my head!  All further proposals from the lady were denied, albeit in a quieter fashion! 

By the time the appointment had come to its conclusion, I was left with a rather sophisticated, 'short back and sides'.  The smattering of red that was left on the top softened the blow, and I was delighted with the outcome.  I watched as the darker auburn remnants were swept away, and checked out the 'new me' in the mirror.  Upon request, made by my daughter, 'before' and 'after' picture were taken, and as I said au revoir to Nahn, the pushy lady appeared exclaiming rather loudly that I looked 'sassy', and would I like to make another appointment.  She received the same two letter word, previously used, for an answer! 

With a little more time to spare before having to pick up the car, I meandered around another department store, but left before the shoes started their overture!  I returned to the car, and attempted to unlock the door, but nothing happened as I depressed the center button.  It was then that I noticed it was the wrong key.  In fact it was the key that had been mysteriously misplaced two days earlier, but which I was positive was not there earlier!  Immediately, I checked my teeth, but there was nothing in my mouth, except a huge cry which was straining to escape from my lips!  Emptying the contents of my bag, again, thoughts of calling the mechanic sprung to mind. Unlike Samson, my strength had not been zapped by the cutting of my hair, but revealing the gray had revealed some more senility!  In my panic I had failed to acknowledge that both keys could be in the same place.  Upon further inspection, the appropriate key was found, exactly where it should have been, and I was once again on the road!

My car was not ready!  The mechanic estimated another forty minutes, and said he would call me upon completion of the work.  I called Dana, to let him know that my appearance at the office today would be fleeting at best, and then sent Joe a message to see if he was still at the shop.  The answer was in the affirmative, and I drove the short distance to revive the ailing mind with some strong caffeinated liquid!  The mechanic did call, as promised, but it was not good news.  My poor vehicle had been neglected in the 'swap over' last year, and although Samantha had taken it for the inspection before taking ownership of her new car, it had not undergone the annual routine maintenance, and was now rather poorly.  This was possibly why it was barking like a dog, rather than purring like a cat!  Suffice it to say, my car had the 'flu, and would need some mechanical chicken soup, and a little tender loving care before recovering its full strength.  Another couple of hours and it should be as fit as a fiddle!  Another couple of hours, I thought, and the keys to the 'loaner' could be on their way to Neverland!  The next question involved the health of my wallet, but I was assured that it would not be too drastic, perhaps the equivalent of a sneeze or two, but not a full blown cold! 

I returned home to take my lunchtime dip, upon the recommendation of Dana, and was met at the condo by Samantha, as once again, keys were the problem.  I had given the mechanic my keyring, which contained not only my car keys, but also my house key.  I did not anticipate needing it!  Samantha let me into my house, and accompanied me to the pool, and then locked the door as we left to go to the office.  Fortunately, I was in possession of the 'loaner's' key, and made sure that it was replaced in the side pocket of my bag when I reached the office.  Within thirty minutes of my arrival at work, I received a call from the mechanic to say that my mini was now as good as new, and awaiting discharge! 

Although 'quitting time' was a couple of hours away, the 'so called' improvements to my perfect road were continuing to slow the flow of vehicles to a crawl!  I increased and decreased my speed accordingly, and eventually managed to pick up the pace as I crossed over the Colorado river.  I left the freeway, and backtracked to the car hospital.  Sitting pretty, and quite bright, was my automobile.  The final bill was not particularly high, and the inspection did not through up any red flags.  All was well for another year.  I returned the key to the 'loaner' car, as if nothing untoward had happened, and drove down the road, purring along with the engine!  The trip home was shorter, as I chose to take the shorter route, which meant less time on the freeway.  However, once entering the ramp the 'so called' improvements to my perfect road were continuing to slow the flow of vehicles to a crawl!  At the risk of sounding cynical, someone must be gaining something from this disruption!  In the words of the famous Monty Python sketch, 'wink, wink; nudge, nudge; say no more!' 

The rest of the afternoon was spent at my desk.  It had been a quiet day up until my return, and as if all knew I had positioned myself in my office, the floodgates opened, and I worked solidly until 7pm!  My new lightweight, wheeled trolley was perfect.  Badly made, and incredibly light, I could lift it with one hand or push it out of the way with little effort. Thank goodness for shoddy workmanship!  Once home, I placed the keys in their 'proper' place, and made a mental note to remember! 

Dana thought my new 'do' was extremely fetching, and I had many compliments throughout the week.  Samantha is now convinced everyone will consider me to be her grandmother, rather than her mum, as I am now officially 'old'.  Most of my contemporaries have expressed their opinions on my 'bravery', but have yet to be ready to take the plunge.  I am now able to walk past the aisle that is marked 'hair dye', and breathe a sigh of relief, and only feel the pressure when I leave the store in search of my keys!

With one more afternoon left to enjoy the pool this season, as it, too, is quite poorly, I am going to cover the white locks with a cap, and enjoy a few hours of rest and relaxation.  The weekend has already been a little more hectic than I had anticipated, but I think I will leave that for ........... another story.

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