Why do we forget stuff? Keys, to buy that one thing you needed at the grocery store but forgot to put on the list, to take the clothes out of the dryer – the list could go on and on.
Sometimes we’re told it’s a sign of growing older, sometimes it’s because of a medical condition, and sometimes it could be because in today’s world we have so much we are trying to accomplish but time seems to always be so much less than what we need.
My recent forgetfulness could be because of growing older but it could be because I had several projects, home and work, on my mind. Whatever the reason I found myself parking in front of the newspaper office in Brookville and looking through my carry bag to find my office keys. But no matter how many times I searched or on which side of the bag I reached down in to feel across the bottom blindly hoping to have fingers come into contact with the familiar shape of keys, it didn’t happen. A search, and research, of the purse offered up the same results – no office keys. A key to every door in my house, a car key, a valet key for the car (one that takes up space in the purse but is rarely used) – all of these were readily found but alas no office key door.
To make matters worse, it was a Sunday so the office wasn’t open and no one was likely to show up suddenly to rescue me from this dilemma.
Sure, I could drive back home because the key could still be in the pocket of a short-sleeved blazer that I wore to work on Friday, but my mind kept replaying my hand setting the office keys down on my desk. It was like watching a movie. I could see myself doing it in my mind’s eye but then the movie goes dark. I wasn’t sure if worrying that I could forget them on the desk I might have placed the keys in my pocket. So while I could drive the 20 minutes back home, there was a 50 percent chance that going home would be a waste of time.
So as I sat in my car I figured it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to my co-workers to see if anyone might be in town on that sunny afternoon.
It wasn’t long before I had an answering text from Jeffersonian Democrat Sports Editor Rich Rhoades. He was in town at the ball field at a game that was just about to start. So while he would lend me his office key, I had to come to the field to pick it up. That was fine by me, as I had been thinking my plans of getting any work done were fading fast.
So with some directions from Rich (I hadn’t been to the ball fields in decades), I drove to the Little League fields and was handed his key, which at that point was more precious to me than gold.
Upon entering the office I searched my desk but no office keys were found. That search solidified the notion that the keys were likely in my blazer pocket at home. But borrowing the key saved me 40 minutes of drive time that afternoon.
All seemed to finally be right in my universe. Ah, but you know, some days the universe just has to have some fun as well.
I had promised to text Rich where I would leave his key, outside the office so he could pick it up. This way if he needed to get into the office before Monday he would have no problem.
I grabbed my bag and headed out of the office. After locking the door, I placed the key in an envelope addressed to Rich and then preceded to search for a good spot to hide the envelope. After checking several areas I had the “bright” idea to place it behind the shovel and bag of salt used during the past winter for sidewalk care.
So holding the envelope by the short end, I left it go to slide behind the shovel and bag of salt against the brick wall of our office building. For some reason I then checked behind the items to make sure the envelope had landed safely.
I moved the shovel slightly and looked but couldn’t see the envelope. So I moved the bag and shovel farther from the wall ... NO ENVELOPE!
As my brain was trying to wrap around that fact, my eyes focused in on the porch floor by the wall and noted the crack between the wall and the porch. I couldn’t believe what my brain was telling me had happened. Without looking, without intentional aiming, I had somehow, blindly, dropped the envelope directly down the crack.
I know if I’d tried to have that envelope go through the crack just by dropping it from five feet above, it likely would have taken a multitude of tries. But let it be something you don’t want to happen, and first try – swoosh! – It sails unimpeded right down through the crack quick as anything.
Quickly leaving the porch I went down the cement steps next to the office to the sidewalk at the base of the stairs that would take me to the back of the building. Keeping my fingers crossed that the envelope would be lying on the back porch of what had been the bottom floor apartment. Once glance across the small porch and I knew the envelope was not there. But even worse, I realized that it would be either in the apartment or the locked shed next door – neither of which I could access.
All I could think was how was I going to get Rich his key back. Aha! I’d call the landlord, Galon Tonell. Galon said he had to mow the back yard of the office building and would come then to mow it and to help me retrieve the key.
About 20 minutes later, Galon arrived and once I showed him where I dropped the envelope, he entered the storage area and was able to quickly find the envelope. He was a definite lifesaver that day.
Now with the precious key back in my hands, I was once more faced with the decision of where to “hide” the key for Rich to find. Dad, who had come along that day for the ride and was watching this entire craziness take place, finally said ‘why don’t you put it inside the screen door?’
I looked at him and realized I hadn’t thought about that as a possible solution. Of course, I had to reply that the suggestion would have been even more helpful if it had been made before the envelope made its trip to the storage area.
So inside the screen door it went, and then I quickly sent a text to Rich about where to find his key – not mentioning the fiasco that had happened.
All of this in itself was really funny enough, but what really had me shaking my head was upon arrival at the office on Monday and opening the screen door, that envelope with Rich’s name on it and the key still inside was right where I had left it.
I entered the office and placed the envelope on Rich’s desk. If I had realized he wouldn’t be picking the key back up on Sunday, I’d have left it on his desk and never would have been part of the adventure of the missing key. But, on the other hand, then I would have had to think about what the column would be for this week.
So I guess sometimes being forgetful isn’t a bad thing after all.