I’m not altogether keen on modern cars and their new key technology. I understand how they help eliminate someone making a quick copy and coming back later to steal the vehicle. Or if it’s a used - or the more politically correct term, pre-owned - vehicle, not having to deal with the worry that there are other keys floating around, giving strangers easy access to the lemon you just bought. However, these engineers of tighter security have ignored the accident prone person, such as myself. And forget getting an extra key made unless you want to sacrifice the water bill. Whereas it used to cost $1.50 or less to make a copy, it now runs $65 or higher. Much higher.
I just stared at the man, dumbfounded. “Why in the world would it cost so much to make an extra key? I don’t want it made out of gold or the University of Florida insignia.”
“Because they now come with electronic chips. If you used a key without that in it, you’d screw up the car’s electronics system and then be in need of major repairs.”
So, I’m stuck with just one key per vehicle for the four of us, because I refuse to part with more than the mere $1.50 for an extra key. It’s stupid in my eyes and exorbitant. I wasn’t even told about it when I bought my van, so it must be common practice to everyone now, except yours truly who hasn’t bought a car younger than ten years old in my life. Don’t I have enough to keep up with just making sure the oil is changed and tires aired up?!
The reason I discovered this outrageous cost was because last year, I locked my keys in the van. While I was working. While the car was still running.
At the time, I worked for a pizza delivery company and had two deliveries to make at the same time. The first was close and I pulled up, grabbed the insulated bag and headed for the door. However, I had grabbed the wrong bag. Running back to the car to get the correct pizza, I snatched at the door handle, only it didn’t open. I glanced at the opposite door and saw that it was locked. I still tried every door including the back hatch.
No such luck.
To make it worse, the car was running. With the cost of gas, all I could see was dollar signs wasting away. I quickly reached for my phone to call the store…. But my phone was in the locked car. I was still wearing my Bluetooth, so I started making demands.
“Call work.” Nothing. “Call Char.” Nothing. “Call Teri. Call Sarah.” Nothing, nothing. “Go screw yourself!”
“Please repeat the command.” I just kicked the tire.
After borrowing the customer’s phone and calling work to inform them of my faux pas, I called Char so that she could call our roadside service, the best monthly payment I’ve ever made. While I was waiting, I leaned back against the car, brooding. My phone rang in my car. The electronic voice asked if I wanted to answer the call or ignore it. I screamed “Answer!” And the people walking down the street crossed to the other side. Luckily I was close enough to the car that the phone call was answered and Char kept me company for the forty-five minutes it took the locksmith to arrive. Of course, it took him longer to get out of his car than to unlock my door and I wanted him to do something else to the car just to make the wait worth it.
“That’s it. I’m buying one of those Slim Jim pop lock things,” I said later that night when the world had ceased laughing at me.
“And you’d keep it in the car?” The girls stared at me.
“Of course. Then I could just use it, instead of waiting around.”
“And how would you get it out of the locked car?”
Now I stared. They can never just go along with my ideas. They always have to be so damn logical.
I couldn’t have broken into the van, even if I had a metal close hanger. The inside locks are now hidden inside the door where a thief can’t reach them to pull them up. Cars of old were easier to work on as well as easier to break into. Put a hook on the end of a metal hanger, slip it between door and car, lasso the lock handle and give a quick yank. Wahlah! The door is unlocked. However, those days are long gone.
I’m not the only human who has locked their keys in their cars. When I first began my pizza delivery career, Allen, a co-worker, did the exact same thing. His keys were locked in the ignition and his car was running. A couple of us grabbed a metal wire hanger and marched out to the idling Nova. As one guy began to shape the hanger and Allen paced back and forth, muttering to himself, I noticed how clean Allen’s driver window was. I mean, it was spotless. Not even a smudge marred the pristine condition. I couldn’t believe it.
I had to touch it. I reached out to touch the glass… and my hand passed right through it to the interior of the car.
“Allen, your window’s down!”
It took him longer to live it down, than I did. It happens. We lock our keys in cars or in homes. That’s why we need extras and why we shouldn’t have to spend a hundred bucks a pop. We don’t need anti-theft protection as much as we need anti-moron protection. At least, I know I need it.
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