Lessons from Losing a Car Key: Part 1

Don’t do it. It’s just a ridiculous idea that you should get out of your head at once. Just don’t.

No, I suppose that isn’t helpful. What might be helpful, or at least if nothing else, entertaining, is for a recount of my own story in hopes that you’ll find the straws of wisdom at which to clutch.

It began on Sunday morning. My mother has been in town visiting, and had to switch rental-houses. She mentioned Saturday night that I should stop by in the morning to come see it. So I did. She wasn’t there. And with July being a particularly busy month for me, I decided to take my shiny powder-blue Peugeot to Pwllheli to get some writing done with the unexpected free time. I spent a few hours there before wandering off to the beach, which was delightful and I gained a fantastic sun-shaped sunburn on my back (don’t ask).

Lesson 1: Use pockets

I was wearing these fantastic summery, flowy, flowery pants, because they’re light and hide my shape and make me look taller (oddly enough). However, for some reason fashion designers don’t think that women need pockets. Or, they’re in cahoots with hand-bag designers (or they’re in actuality handbag people themselves!), and it’s all a conspiracy to get women to accessorize (something I, myself, just can’t be asked with). Either way, I had an equally-flowy sweatshirt tip thing which had one pouch in the front, much like a hoodie. It was there I stashed my belongings.

You might be thinking that this is how I lost my key. I assure you, that I didn’t, though I did have that thought. If I lost my key at the beach, then how did I drive back? Hm? Yes, let’s not be silly about this now!

I managed to get my back to the car, though I did forget my key at my perch for a couple of moments and had to return to retrieve it. But to my car I meandered, and drove back to the village, parked my car—

Lesson 2: Don’t lock your doors

–and locked the doors. I know, you might think this is a habit I should regularly engage in. However, usually I don’t have the best of cars (in fact the car I left behind in the states had a button for the ignition, and that wasn’t a built-in feature but rather the result of the starter stopping), and so, logically, I would rather someone just have access of the little-that-there-is-of-worth by opening my door instead of me having to pay for a broken window. What’s more, I live in a village with a rather insanely low crime rate, and it’s filled with insanely rich tourists, who aren’t going to steal my car or what’s in it, and probably have nicer cars to lure the criminals than my own. So, I don’t lock my doors.

Yet, for some unknown reason, as I left my vehicle with my backpack slung over my shoulder, and my free book in hand, I felt the need to hit that damned lock button. So, it’s locked. What does this tell us? My key isn’t locked in my car. I need a button to lock it, and that button is on the key. So it made it out of the car.

I live above a pub, and so it’s only a short distance from the pub parking lot to my flat. Once there, I had an hour before I was meant to meet up with my mother and a family friend at the Yacht Club to go out on said friend’s boat. (It should be noted that I’m not a club member, nor do I look the part, nor do I act the part, nor do I fund the part) During this hour I probably flopped onto the bed and just decompressed for a few moments before rooting around my room for a pair of clean jeans and a presentable top.

Lesson 3: Pay Attention to the Possibilities of Your Clothing

I couldn’t tell you what top I did find. But I do know for certain that I was wearing jeans with adequate pockets. And I do know that I grabbed that flowy seater thingy as well. At this point, my memory loses track of the key. Could it be that I stashed it on my night stand as I usually do when I get home? Did I put it in my jeans pocket from the bedside table? Or did it make it back into my sweater thingy’s front pocket on the journey from the car to my room? Who knows! After all, I did grab my bank card (another dumb decision), and whatever change I had laying there.

Lesson 4: Pay Attention to the Possibilities of Your Accessories

I was meeting with my mother and family friend on the boat to scatter Granny’s ashes. A couple weeks ago I made the long drive to Warwickshire to retrieve her ashes (that I didn’t know were still at the funeral director’s and was shocked to discover), and I had been the holder of them until Sunday. I didn’t have it in me to delve into the black-funeral-party-looking bag, into the shoe-box-looking case and take out the urn (which it turned out, looked like a coffee canister to my indignation), so it had remained snuggly put together in the corner of my room. I retrieved this open bag (is this a clue???), my bundle of flowy sweater thing, and left the flat near the time I was meeting everyone.

Lesson 5: Pay Attention to Mindless Habits

I noticed I was a little early to the corner that I was meeting Mom at, so I meandered toward the ATM, where there was a line. I stood in line for a little bit before I saw Mom, and abandoned the idea of getting cash out. Now, usually, when I am going to need something out of my pocket and I have to wait, my eager hands will sneak into my pockets and fiddle with the thing I need, or retrieve it entirely. This means that I could have had my card in my hand, I could have taken it out of my pocket, which means that my inadequately small lady pockets could have regurgitated my key from my pocket during that time—IF my key was in there to start with.

We weren’t at the Yacht club long at all before finding family friend and heading toward the boat launch—you know, down the stairs with nice gaps between them that open into the swaying tide. I managed to get into the launch boar fairly easily, though, as we left the jetty I felt the nip of wind and decided to put on my sweater thing. Was my key in that pocket? Did it fall out in that boat?

Lesson 6: Don’t Hop Boats

We reached the sailboat and managed to climb over the ledge of the launce, over the wire railing of the sail boat and get in. I actually have to pose the possibility too—did I actually just put my sweater thingy on in this boat, and not the launch? I know I was in charge of passing things to my mom, who was first onto the sailboat. Was my own clothing one of those things? Did my key fall into the water?

Lesson 6.5: When You Do Hop Boats, Stay Away From the Ledges

The day was beautiful, and we sailed around the—well, you can read my post on it here, or the description of the scenery on my travel blog here. I shan’t bore you with repeating myself (though I’m pretty certain I’ve bored my readers already at this point). We drank a glass and a half each of Prosecco to Granny on the way out to the point. When we finally reached the spot where Granny was to be scattered, both Mom and I made our way to the back of the boat. There we both leaned over the railing and took turns dusting the sea.

I think I can rule this out. While we were leaning forward, my memory had considered that perhaps the vibrations of the boat might have shaken the key from my pocket. But honestly, I think that it would have hit the flat back of the boat first, thus producing a clunk. Also, we didn’t start using the motor of the boat until after she was scattered and hugs were spread. We were all sail up until that point.

After the tears and the hugs, it was time to break into the average daily wine, and I think I had maybe two and a half, possibly three glasses of red, myself, while we moored up (is that the right terminology? I’m not a sailor. I suppose we parked the boat in the boat-parking lot on the bay).

Lesson 7: Repeat Lesson 6: Don’t Hop Boats

The launch came for us fairly soon afterward. I hopped boats. Again. What’s more, I hopped from the launch to the jetty, and made my way up the stairs with the large gaps to the Yacht Club.

Now, this is where I lose moments of my life it gets a  little hazy.

We of course had to have another drink to Granny at that time. She had such a great impact on so many people in the Yacht Club, and in the village. There were only a handful of people there, but I knew most of them while Mom knew all of them. Drinks ensued.

Lesson 8: Drink Only If You Don’t Have Your Car Key On You

And more drinks.

And more drinks.

Until finally the Yacht club was closing, the family friend and the rest had all gone home and Mom and I were swaying our way out of the building, through the beach huts in the nice, fine, white sand, across the beach car park, under the chain locking the car park, down the little lane (at which point Mother and I parted), and then down to the pub, where I live.

But of course the adventure never ends there, does it? Thinking that I was being good, strict with myself and emotionless, I threw the funeral-party bag and shoe-box into the giant pub trash bins. That sorts that!

I decided that I had to do my managerial duty and do the stock order for the following day…with my very heavy dose of hick-ups. This means that I went into the pub to retrieve keys, into the ice cream shack, into the storage shed, and repeat (for all those concerned, I did not drink and order. I realized that I couldn’t hold a pen, never mind leave a message with an order for twenty flavors of ice cream, so I gave up and hoped for the best).

Then I retired to my flat.

That’s where my memory ends.

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