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.
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.