Keyed Up

man purse 0420

Here is a story of competence so impressive it may take your breath away, which is probably a horrible expression to be using during a respiratory pandemic. Forget I said anything.

Oz and I have been walking to work from Lake School, a 15-minute jaunt that is allowing me to catch up on my backlog of Colorado Central magazines and giving him multiple chances to find any number of disgusting items emerging from alley snowbanks that he can then stick in his mouth and cart along with him.

Because it is, nominally (it is, after all, blizzarding as I type), spring, I moved all my valuables from my winter jacket into my man purse, also called a fanny pack. But I never wear this around my waist, because I have enough of a gut that my belly presses on the latch and it comes undone, sometimes falling to the ground unnoticed.

It’s a little tight to wear diagonally across my chest, so I usually end up carrying it by the strap. But when I’m carrying my magazine, Oz’s leash and my gloves (nominally spring, remember), it just gets in the way, so then I place it in my backpack.

What goes to work eventually leaves work, and Oz and I make the 15-minute trek back to the car at lunchtime. But if I’m planning to go back to work, my backpack stays behind. Can you feel the foreshadowing of doom settling upon us?

Yesterday we left for lunch, me absorbed in George Sibley’s recounting of the time he and an unnamed friend went hiking toward an alpine lake that was much farther than they remembered from their earlier years (kind of like my waistline). They finally gave up reaching the lake, ate lunch, sharing a carrot cake provided by the friend’s daughter, only belatedly realizing she had laced it with marijuana. I can’t tell you how it ends — that has to wait for our next sojourn to work. [Which is on hold until we decide whether Lynn has a random stomach bug or something more fearsome.]

Oz of course found some disgusting calcified remnant to cart along with him, so there we were, reading and walking, chewing and walking, until we got to the car. I got behind the wheel and pushed the start button. Nothing happened.

I didn’t even try it again, because I knew instantly what I’d forgotten: my man purse was back at work, still comfortably nestled in my backpack, key fob tucked securely in the zippered pouch. Fifteen minutes away.

Last year when I was parking much closer to work, I would do this with distressing regularity, head for the car two blocks away while leaving the key behind. But two blocks is a minor annoyance; nine blocks is extremely inconvenient.

I considered my options. One: Get back out of the car, pry Oz away from his alley prize, walk back 15 minutes to get the key, and then 15 minutes to return to the car. (I would at least find out if George and his friend made it down the trail safely.) Two: Call Lynn, who would be home asleep in her chair, who could bring the fob that’s in two pieces waiting for a new battery (unavailable at City Market, and I didn’t put it on my list to look for at Safeway), hoping that the old battery had enough juice to get home. Three: see if Kara could ride her bike over with the key from work.

The first option went straight out the window. While it would have been the healthiest, and perhaps taught me the lesson I deserved (never go without your winter coat, where everything can be stored in convenient pockets), I wasn’t feeling it at all. At all.

Two seemed cumbersome and time consuming. So three it was, and the bonus was that instead of her bike, Kara had her car. It did take her awhile, because she “never gets over to this side of town,” so she was driving like a drunkard, weaving from side to side as she checked out the west-central goings-on. And people think this is a small town.

She did point out that it was “Kara to the rescue” rather than Gilly, but I’m always happy to accept the assistance of any of my co-workers. And I did so this time mindful of the two-part fact that my phone had gone not in my man purse but my winter coat (us being on the nominal side of spring this week) and that it still had a battery charge, no matter how nominal. I need lots of taking care of, it turns out.

Of course, the story doesn’t really stop there, because after I got home and plugged my nearly-dead phone in, I of course forgot to pick it up for my return to work. I didn’t really miss it, but sometimes I do wonder how I ever manage to get along in this modern world. Or any other world, for that matter. In the olden days, I wouldn’t have had a choice, because there would have been no phone close at hand.

Well, not no phone: I could have gone over to my friend Linda’s office window at the school and, standing six feet away, asked her to make phone calls for me.

I suppose the real lesson here is that it’s important to have friends everywhere, because you never know when you’re going to need a spare key, or a spare phone, maybe a spare car . . . at any rate, you need people who can spare their time to come to your rescue. Or maybe you don’t need that, but I certainly do.

This has nothing much to do with today’s topic (other than everyone has to operate as a team to take care of me), but yesterday morning the Denver news carried a snippet of this video. Arvada West is the school from which my nephew Justin will graduate next month, and this was orchestrated (har) by his choir director, although this is a women’s choir and not one my nephew belongs to. A-West’s choral program draws a lot of acclaim, and it seems a testament to the teacher that he got this from his students remotely.

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