Keys: The Lost Episodes

Sometimes I feel like I've blown my literary wad, given this blog my all. I've got nothing left.

And then I lock myself out of my condo.

I never walk out of the house without having the solid feel of the keys in my hand. And last Thursday, I stared at the outside of my front door, feeling my keys very solidly in my hand. The wrong keys. My Sacramento keys. The keys that went to my Sacramento front door. And my Sacramento car. The keys that were useless to me as I stood outside my Los Angeles front door.

And I had to meet a guy in thirty minutes. A guy whose phone number was inside my house. A writer guy I met a couple of weeks ago and arranged to interview for my blog. I had to get to this meeting.

Panic-ridden adrenaline rushed through me, overwhelming me. I haven't had that feeling since I screwed up some production data at my ersatz Tech job. But there was a little silver-lined voice in the cloud of my head saying, Hey, when this is all over, you're so totally blogging about it.

At that moment, however, I was a bit immobilized, and kind of freaking out, because I always worry that when I agree to meet someone somewhere, and then I die before I get there, who is going to tell that person I'm just not going to make it that day? After wrapping my car around a squirrel, will some wayward stranger be conscientious enough to search my dead body for my schedule and follow-up on my appointments? No. If anything, they would steal my cellphone. And my laptop. And my limited edition Spongebob Squarepants car seat covers. Jerks.

So now this guy was going to think I'm a total flake and refuse to take my calls.


And you were going to be so impressed, wondering how did I nab this guy for an interview, and I just blew it.

I looked at my keys and realized with some relief that they included the car I drove down to L.A. in. I could still get to the interview, and worry about the rest afterward. But then I realized I couldn't get into the garage under our condo building without my OTHER L.A. keys.


You're probably saying, well, don't you have spare keys somewhere? Yes. Yes, I do. My husband in Sacramento has an extra set. My roommate, who moved out last month and left them in the kitchen drawer for me, had an extra set. My next-door neighbor had an extra set until four days before this fiasco when I asked her to return them because I'm in the middle of preparing to rent out the place, so why would I need extra keys at this point, right?

I knocked on my five neighbors' doors to see if anyone was home at 1:30 pm on a Thursday, thinking they could let me into the garage. No such luck. I called a neighbor down the street and fortunately she was home and drove me to Starbucks up the hill on Beverly Glen Drive near Mulholland Drive.

"You wanna check and make sure he's here?" she asked as I got out of her car.

"He might not be here yet, so go ahead. I'll be OK."

Whew! At least I made it to the meeting on time. Only now I was a nervous wreck and could only think of my problem - how was I supposed to have a decent conversation with this person?

While I waited, I made a million phone calls including:

1.  Any and all of my five condo neighbors (because I also needed to get back into the locked entry gate to reach my front door).

2.  My husband who was 400 miles away and having some personal crisis of his own which meant that neither one of us was any help to the other.

3.  Tracking down a locksmith (and let me just thank God right now for the iPhone and Google Maps, because Starbucks does not have Free Wifi if you happen to be traveling around with your laptop).

The rest of the story is boring, except for the part where my interviewee doesn't show up, so now I'm wondering if I have the wrong day, or if I was supposed to call to confirm, or a hundred other reasons of how I screwed up. Essentially, I was in no condition to conduct any kind of interview. It would probably have gone something like this:

Me: So, do you know any good locksmiths?

Him: Uhhhh.....

Me: Can you give me a ride home? I mean, I know it's out of your way, but I'm sort of stuck here.

Him: Can we talk about my book?

Me: How could I be so stupid - GAH! Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!

Him: I'm not sure you should be drinking that triple shot thingy -

Me: I'm a good person, you know? I'm a responsible person! Oh, there's another guy leaving now - (calls out to other guy) EXCUSE ME SIR? CAN YOU TAKE ME HOME?

My obsession with getting back through my front door was just too all-consuming, and this large double cappuchino I was guzzling wasn't helping matters any. I began to hope that this guy wouldn't show up. I rocked back and forth, mumbling "Serenity now!" to no effect. And what is the proper gutteral response to people who can't stop staring at you with dropped jaws anyway?

After half an hour of waiting and asking two people who slightly resembled him if they were indeed him, you know, just for good measure, and in my state of mind could very well have been him, I only met him once before after all, I called my neighbor to bring me back home. The locksmith showed up right after I arrived, and one of my condo neighbors happened to get home from work early to let me in the entry gate. Ninety-five seconds and ninty-five bucks later, I was back in my house again.

I haven't locked myself out of the house since college, when one morning around dawn, I lethargically crawled out of bed, thinking I heard my cat, Rufus, screaming to come inside. I walked out the front door of my apartment, which locked behind me and did I mention that I only slept in a T-Shirt? As in ONLY a T-Shirt? As in, Nanny Goats in no panties whatsoever? And of course that day, my roommate wasn't home.

Why can't I ever lock myself out of the house so that all I have to do is knock on the door for someone to let me in?

Call me a wimp, but I don't think I should live in two cities anymore.


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