So, I pull into the parking lot of our little Supermarket, bank, pizza, Chinese food parking lot. I was there for two simple reasons: 1) To deposit a check at the bank, and 2) to pick up some prescriptions at the supermarket’s pharmacy. I’m doing this before coffee and toast, but I’m focused. It’s all under control. I doublecheck to make sure I’ve got the check in my my right jacket pocket. Yup, still there. I make sure I’ve got the bank card in the other pocket. No problem. It’s right where I put it.

In the parking lot by the bank

I put on my mask, making sure it covers my nose. I extract my computer glasses from my bag and put it in a pocket so I can see what I’m doing in the bank. Hearing is a bit more of problem since my left hearing aid is on the fritz, but I’m okay. I’m okay. Yes, dear. I’m okay. I pat myself down to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be. I’m good to go. Hold on. Where are the car keys?

I check inside the car. I look in the ignition. No keys. I hadn’t taken as much as two steps away from the car. Where are the damned keys? I retrace all my movements. Once, twice, thrice. I go through my bag to see if I dropped the keys in when I took my glasses out. Nope. No keys. I get down on my knees and search the front car seats and the narrow crevasses between the seats where it’s too narrow to see or reach. I see many old gum wrappers, but no keys. I start quietly cursing.

“Where are the damn keys? WHERE the hell are those bloody keys?”

By now, I’m getting frantic. I hadn’t gone anywhere. I check the back seats and recheck the floor. No keys! I pat myself down again. Still no keys!  I am now yelling loudly so everyone can hear me and I don’t care: “Where the hell are the damned keys?”  I see a cop, nearby on roadwork duty, staring at me. Just staring at me. I shrug my shoulders. What’s his problem? I didn’t do anything wrong. Just looking for the goddamn keys.

Now, I’ve worked myself up to angry lather and am yelling at the heavens: “Why are YOU doing this to me?”  Yes, I’m looking up to the sky to confront the big guy. “WHY are YOU doing this to ME?” I scream.  “What did YOU do with my keys?” I’m a believer, at least when the keys are missing. I look around. I’m on the verge of losing it. I get out of the car again, stomp my feet like an angry two-year-old. “WHY?” I yell again. “WTF! Why me?  What did I do wrong?” I can feel the tears coming, tears of a 5-year-old who can’t buckle his galoshes. My past reality is converging with present anxieties. Meanwhile, an Excedrin Plus headache has kicked in which merely makes me even more belligerent. Those goddamn keys! I know there’s a conspiracy against me. “They” are out to get me. Again. Just when I think I’ve finally gotten rid of “them,” they’re back. I sigh. It’s a big sigh and as stare ahead, I look down. My wife always tells me I should look down more often and I would trip less. I’m so glad she isn’t here.

Because there are the car keys, lying on the ground next to the front near the car’s hood. The bloody keys. Holy Hosanna, how in the name of John Wayne Gacy did the keys end up over there? Did they magically take several bounces from my hand? What in this crazy world is going on? Conspiracy theories flash through my fevered brow as I snatch up the keys with a vengeance, staring at them with intent to kill.

“Okay, I’m good,” I think. “I’m good.” I’m taking deep breaths, trying to calm down before all the people in the parking lot converge on this crazy old guy standing and yelling at his car. I pat myself down again to make sure everything is in place. I grab my bag. I ping the car lock device on my keys. I give the keys once last look of pure loathing and head into the bank.

And, that’s the way it was. Monday, October 26th, in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, USA. Another legend in his own mind passes through the gates of the twilight zone.
Epilogue: Marilyn tells me this incident “…doesn’t mean anything. It happens to everyone.”  She reminds me of how I had to rescue her from the grocery store — in the channel 7 van with all the engineers and equipment — when she lost the car keys in Star Market 25 years ago. And that was when we were both merely middle-aged. I shouldn’t get bent out of shape. It has nothing to do with age.
Okay, whatever you say, Dear.

Categories: Anecdote, Cars and Trucks, Garry Armstrong, Humor, Photography, You can't make this stuff up

Tags: , , , , ,

35 replies

  1. No, we are not going mad! I swear someone/something moves things just for the hell of it…
    It is the only logical explanation…


  2. It happens to us all, not just the keys. I managed to lose my iPhone and I did not have a clue where it was, but suspected the car. I searched everywhere and was without my phone, my memory, my life’s keys to reason etc. etc. It was an iPhone, type X not cheap, so after a couple of days of searching I took the plunge and ordered a new one, the latest model. And what happened. I searched again in the car and found the one I lost wedged between the seat and gears. No. 2 son was happy. I gave it to him as I had a new one and could not used two. He had never had an iPhone only Samsung and finds it super, especially because of the super camera.


    • I have duplicates of two of my favorite pairs of earrings. This is because I lost each pair, replaced them (while I could because they are hand-made and she only makes a couple of pairs of each) and of course, found the lost ones immediately thereafter. I offered them to my son, but he was oddly enough, uninterested. I need to lose something more fun for him next time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I lose my car now. It I actually don’t make a focused mental note of where I’ve parked I often end up in a search. Let’s not even start on “Where did i put my glasses?”


    • Garry writes it down in a little notebook. Once, my mother and I lost the car. We had to walk the mall for miles to finally find it. And I was only like maybe 15? And she wasn’t old either. Malls. Parking. Bah, humbug.


  4. ‘Yes dear,’ the two most important words in any successful marriage. (FIL’s advice to hubby)


  5. what a brilliant wife you have, Garry! And really, it doesn’t mean anything. EVERYBODY has done the same thing. I am married to the most distracted person in this whole wide world, the one who goes on the motorway with his hidiously (work related and irreplacable) expensive smartphone on the roof of the car, who is FOREVER looking for stuff he ‘knows where I’ve put it’ but then he didn’t…. he’s right now using (again!) my headphones for his smartphone because he lost his!
    DEAR is right. As she is always. 🙂


    • I forget a lot of things too, but usually words rather than things. I used to forget things. Like leaving my bag on top of the car and driving away — and wondering what happened to it? Duh. Garry can’t hear, so he needs to use his eyes more. He left water running in the bathroom. The hose of the hand shower hooks around the handle of the shower. I hear it and turn it off, but he can’t hear it — can’t wear hearing aids in the bathroom — so he has to turn around and LOOK. It just take a long time to relearn doing things differently. Once upon a time I had a fantastic memory and so did Garry, but the years have crept up on us and I forget everything unless I take care of it immediately or leave something obvious where I can’t miss it to remind me to do whatever it is.

      Changing is hard enough for most of us, but it gets more frustrating as you age, mostly because you figure it’s time for things to get easier. Mentally, change is easy. Physically, it’s harder. I respond much more slowly and I move much more slowly. And forgetting words is driving me nuts!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the way you tell this, Garry! We’ve all been there…


  7. Never happened to me….muahahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Geeze Garry this happens so often that I don’t even freak out anymore. Instead I start laughing, mostly at myself. However, a good visual memory helps. If you can picture the position you last saw the item in, you can imagine the possibilities. Most times what ever you are looking for is right where you thought it was.., in other words, hiding right in front of your nose.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Time to throw a hissy fit to purge a lot of that ingrowing anger against the establishment and the coronavirus and this crazy, science fiction world we find ourselves in. You got rid of a lot of punishing feelings that were attacking you. We all need to vent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PATRICIA, thank you! You give a sense of legitimacy to my hissy fit.
      I can just see Strother Martin smiling, “Boy, ya got to git your mind right”.


  10. Oh I’m sorry, but I was laughing the whole way from “Where are the keys??!” I’ve had that kind of reaction in public myself, only it’s usually some other thing that I urgently need, that I know I had just moments before, and which I can’t put my hands on now. I used to lose my keys all the time, so I developed an OCD (truly) habit with regard to them. Do I lock them in the car? Yep. But at least I usually have the spare in my purse. Purses are a God-send. I’m glad that cop didn’t come over to give you a ‘wellness check”. Now THAT? Would have been a bitter end to the saga of the lost keys!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melanie, you are right. I’m lucky to have found the keys before the cop came over. He would’ve probably added, “didn’t you used to be that guy on television who knew everything”?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s just covid and how we are all reacting to the long term effects. We don’t know when it will end, we don’t know if we will get it, we don’t know if we will survive it and yet it is always just a lurking over us. Plus if the fears of covid weren’t enough, there is so much else lurking over our heads, the election, racism and uncertain times. A little freak out is good, because it got some of those pent up emotions out.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Marilyn’s right Garry, it happens to everyone. I often find that I’ve dropped the keys onto my lap and when I stand up and get out of the car they fall to the ground. I hate it when it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ” I’m doing this before coffee and toast, but…” Might want to rethink this strategy in future!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The husband of a friend of mine went off this morning on an errand. He left the house without his mask, his phone and his hearing aids which meant that my friend had to go after him with the missing items. He was going to the audiologist. So you are not alone Garry.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. It really DOES happen to everyone at every age. Even youth. Maybe especially youth. CALM DOWN you crazy old guy!

    Liked by 1 person


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