I tell kids every time I visit schools that EVERY DAY has the potential to be a story you should write about. Some are good, some aren't so great. But if you add details to make people interested, even sometimes the most mundane stories can spring alive.
You hear people say all the time, "Someday, we will laugh about this." Some experiences seem so far from laughable, but with time and distance become a little amusing and sometimes just hilarious. This one mildly amuses me at this point and I hope somewhat amuses you.
Here is my attempt to make something good from a morning gone bad.
First let me mention I had a very important meeting to go to and thirty minutes to shower and drive to the destination which was pushing it, because the destination is AT LEAST twenty minutes from my house.
I was at a gas station about four miles from my house. The top was down (important to know my car was wide open), my credit card was in my trunk. I went to get my credit card and locked my keys in the trunk. Perplexed about what I had just done, I went ahead and fueled up as I thought about how dumb I am. Fortunately there is a trunk release, so all was not lost. When I went to use the trunk release, for some reason on this day only it didn't work. I tried it twenty times just to be sure it wasn't the angle of my pushing, NO GO! Now I was in panic mode. My meeting was coming fast and it looked like I was going to go in my running clothes, not the worst thing in the world, and not the best first impression either, but we would laugh at the circumstances that forced me to show up late and in running gear. I would just call... Oh no, I had locked my cell phone in the trunk too (see I had both in my hand when I set them down to look through all the stuff I had stuffed in my trunk for my wallet.) I didn't know the phone number to call to alert the person I was meeting with so I went in to panic mode. I would have to jog, er run home.
I asked the attendant to keep an eye on my totally open car and jogged home, FOUR miles.
I got home, couldn't for the life of me remember the garage entry code. Finally after running around the house hoping for an open window I could crawl through I remembered it and sprinted to the keypad before I forgot it. I rushed into the house and couldn't find my spare set (looked four times in the same place, where we keep spare keys). All the while going through caller ID to find the phone number of the person I was meeting, realizing finally that he had only communicated previously on my cell phone which was taking a nap in my car's trunk.
I relearned how to use a phone book since I have grown used to my phone's 3G network.
Then I called the dealership and as fast as I could explained the situation.
"Spare key?" she asked.
"Can't find it... 'tis why I called you." I said, trying really hard to remain calm, patient and nice. The old more bees to honey thing popped into my mind.
The nice sounding lady pulled up my file and then the lady started to laugh, "Sir, you do know you have a trunk release right near your steering wheel, giggle, laugh..."
"Uh, yeah, tried that." NO LAUGH.
"Tried?" she said with a slightly haughty tone.
"'Bout twenty times actually, wouldn't release." The tone of my voice growling deeper, "I need an alternative to the release, or a key, is there another way in?" I was getting impatient thinking about the six punk teens who were unbolting the seats in my convertible even as we spoke.
"Mine does." she said.
"What?" I said astonished that her answer seemed to have nothing to do with what I had just stammered.
"I have a car similar to yours and my trunk latch works." she said matter of factly.
"My keys aren't locked in your trunk. Mine doesn't, so plan B?"
Did you say the top was down?"
"Yes!" not sure how I could have said that more clearly when I was explaining that my car was sitting wide open, unattended in a gas station and I needed to get back there as soon as possible.
Oh why hadn't I thought of that? Oh yeah because my meeting was six minutes ago and I didn't want to spend $200 to have some yahoo scratch the crap out of my car. "NO! IS THERE A WAY TO GET IN?"
She cleared her throat in a way that told me I was pushing her closer to hanging up on me.
"Well sir, you have a trunk ski pass through. You can retrieve the keys through that if your car is open." her condescending tone at this point was grating on me like sandpaper but not as much as my own stupidity for not thinking of that, since once before I had used it to retrieve something in the trunk.
"THANK YOU!" I hung up and in a mad panic searched everywhere for the phone number again of the person I was going to go meet to let him know I hadn't just blown off the meeting. Then I realized the only place I had his private number (that I couldn't look up or google) was on my cell phone because even though I know you are supposed to back up all of your information, I hadn't. "DOH!" Idiot alert!
Now I had to get back to the gas station before my car was sitting up on blocks. Four miles back is a good jog (I had just finished a three miler with a friend when I pulled into the gas station, so now with my trip home I was up to seven miles and I was feeling it a bit).
So, I thought, "I will take my bike back, it will be much faster and will stretch my legs out well, because I don't have time to stretch or anything else for that matter. I was in full panic mode, because the person I was going to meet was surely sitting there waiting for me and ringing my cell phone as we speak. This meeting was going to open up an opportunity for me that I had been working on for some time and wasn't likely to get a second chance. I HAD TO GET IN THAT TRUNK! NOW!
So about a mile from my house my front tire went flat almost pitching me over the handlebars. I ditched my bike behind a grove of trees and jogged the rest of the way to the gas station (now I've logged in ten, seven unintentional miles of jogging).
I jumped into my untouched car's back seat and fished my arm, up to my shoulder around in the dark trunk for what seemed like twenty minutes digging through all the crap I had thrown in my trunk, looking for those #@%# keys and cell phone as people came and went laughing, gassing up, staring and pointing at this idiot with his butt in the air desperately sweeping the trunk blindly and some near 'A Christmas Story' language floating above and wondering where the 'WHAT WOULD YOU DO' CAMERA WAS and just about when I was going to offer to rent a small child to crawl through for me I finally found them both at the same time.
I looked at my phone; three messages, all from the same guy I was meeting with. The first a full apology that at the last minute he had to cancel because of an emergency. The other two apologies and pleas for me to call to make sure I had gotten his other messages and wasn't just sitting there waiting for him.
AT LAST SOMETHING HAD GONE RIGHT. Now, I had something to hold over his head and I would REALLY get what I wanted from our next meeting... boo haa haa haa...
I drove back toward my house to get my bike and as I was loading it in my car, this lady pulls over and says, "I've got your license plate if you even think about stealing that bike!" I simply rolled my eyes which really inflamed her.
NOW, here is the final straw. When I got home, I thought, "I need to order another set of keys in case this happens again." When I went to the drawer where we keep things like extra keys, my set of extras was sitting right there on the top of everything. "Now, how didn't I see that when I was searching?" I thought. Probably the same way I don't see things in the refrigerator that have been in the same place for years.
The meeting took place the next week and went very well.
HAVE YOU EVER DONE ANYTHING SO BONEHEADED THAT YOU NOW LAUGH ABOUT? IT REMINDS ME OF THE SAYING I SAY TO YOUNGER PEOPLE "DON'T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY, BECAUSE IF YOU DO, NOBODY ELSE WILL."