There are few experiences that make a person feel as stupid as locking the keys in the car. The feeling is similar to getting a paper-cut, or erasing the right answer on a test. You irrationally try to go back just a few minutes to stop yourself from making the mistake, even though you know that is impossible.
I think that is the worst part. The problem is just so damn easy to fix… with hindsight. That combination of such a simple yet foolish solution is enough to make some people go insane. The key is in the car, and the car doors are locked, so the only way to unlock the car is to be inside the car, but I am outside the car, and I need to be inside the car, but the key is in the car, and I am not. In my two years at College of the Holy Cross I have spent hours solving problems, but few have been so frustrating.
Life is oddly circular. On Memorial Day, three years ago, I had driven up to my Grandparent’s farm to help move some furniture. I had quite a rotten experience. My Dad and I drove around for hours to find a place to rent a U-Haul truck. When we finally found a location that was actually open on Memorial Day, my Dad took the truck, and I was supposed to follow in his Volvo, but I didn’t make it very far. I perhaps drove three feet before I ran right over a grassy bank, and the car was stuck. Despite the efforts of half a dozen U-Haul workers, it was immovable until the AAA people arrived. I didn’t recover from that mistake immediately, and when I finally pulled into the farm, I was sweating from both the heat and my nerves. I got out of the front seat, turned to the open the back door, found the door locked, and then proceeded to click the unlock button. Instinctually I closed the front door, only to find the back door still locked, and when I looked back to the front, that was locked too. One mistake after another, things could not get any worse, except, well, did I mention that my dog was locked in the car on this very hot summer day?
Well a long story short, my very friendly and handy neighbor was able to unlock the car from a little crack in the window. My dog was saved, and so was my neck.
This Memorial Day we drove up to the farm again for my little Brother’s graduation party. Needless to say, I did it again.My stomach turned upside down as the familiar sensation. This was not happening, but as I checked all of the doors out of desperation, I had to accept reality. Perhaps not as bad as a dog, there were of course three bags of ice on the back seat waiting to melt. Thankfully AAA was able to bail me out again, and a mechanic opened the door with ease. I like to think I will learn from this experience so it will never happen again, but next Memorial Day wouldn’t feel the same without the tradition.