Wednesday, August 13, 2008

These Keys Were Made for Walking

Two years ago when we made our pilgrimage to the US, Wifey put her cell phone "in a safe place" so that if robbers broke in and did a non-rigorous search they wouldn't steal it. This had the humorous side effect of rendering it unfindable when we came back a month later. We searched for it for two weeks until I wearied of the constant complaints and did what comes naturally: bought her a new one.

Listen, I enjoy letting my loved ones beat themselves up over forgetting where things are as much as the next guy, but there's only so much I can stand.

You know the rest of the story: two days later she found her old phone, which she much preferred, hidden beneath her clean socks. By some miracle of laundry we'd keep the pile full and thus kept her from getting to the bottom of it. So she went back to the old phone and I got a new phone and that was it.

Last year when we came back from the US, Wifey couldn't find a handful of things that she always carries in Europe: a US-European conversion card, some IDs, the bank card, and other miscellaneous stuff. We searched and we searched, but nothing turned up. A week later we found it, underneath a pair of jeans on the floor that we hadn't bothered to look under.

As we prepared to leave this year, we were laughing about the travails of finding things the last few years, and she made a bold statement: "this year I'm just leaving everything out. If somebody breaks in and steals stuff, more power to 'em." And this is what she did with everything.

Except for her keys, which I pleaded with her to "put in a safe place where we'll be sure to find them." We both remember this. What we don't remember is where that place actually is. Oh, sure, we easily found the car keys left on the table, and the other car key hung on the kitchen peg board, but the house keys were simply gone.

To say that it drove Wifey slightly made is an understatement. It drove her a lot mad. She proceeded to tear the house apart, day and night, searching for her lost keys.

I was glad to leave home to go to work, quite frankly. But each day I came home and there were no keys, but I did have a frazzled wife. Not much of a trade-off, I can tell you.

Finally this grew to such a fever pitch that it consumed my entire family: myself, the girl, and Wifey were all searching for the keys. The boy couldn't care less, and spent his time playing Paper Mario on the Wii.

Wifey and I ended up in our room, determined to either find the keys or burn the house down and start afresh.

"For some reason I'm drawn to right here!" she stood in front of her closet. "Do you know why?"

"All I remember is you telling me to help you remember where you put your keys," I said. "And then you put them in a place where we'd be sure to see them when we returned."

"I wanted to just leave them on the nightstand, but you wouldn't let me." She sighed. "Do you remember this magical place where we would automatically find them?"

"I bet you put them in your shoe," I said. "Did you check in your shoe?"

"What kind of a moron puts them in their shoe?" she asked me. "I'm not a mental patient. Of course I didn't check in my shoes."

So I pulled out her shoes and, sure enough, they weren't in there. But as I picked them up, suddenly a memory, clear as lightning, fired through every synapse in my brain:

Me, putting her keys inside my work dress shoes, which I wear to work every single day. The logic was this: I'll have to put on my dress shoes to go to work, and then I'll find the keys, and so it's not a problem.

Only, if you remember, I bought new dress shoes. And they were so comfy that I have been wearing them since my return.

Without thinking things through, I picked up my old dress shoes and heard the familiar clinking of keys.

"What was that?" Wifey was on me like a hungry bear on a fat hiker. "I heard keys."

"I think it came from downstairs. You better check it out."

"Are my keys in your shoes?" she asked me.

"It's an audible illusion," I said.

"Show me the shoes," she held out her hand.

"There's nothing to see here," I assured her. "Move along."

"Let me check."

I tried to palm the keys as I handed her the shoes, but only ended up scuffing her fingers and dangling the keys out in front of me.

"I have been tearing my hair out and kicking myself the last three days wondering what happened to those damn keys! What are they doing in your shoes?"

"I found them!" I said. "What's my reward? Are you aroused by my searching genius?"

"I won't kill you," she said. "I have to decide whether or not to Bobbitt you."

I'm starting to think burning the house down might have been the cleaner solution.

[Quick temporal note: I've been home a week. The vacation blog lagged real time by 2 days, which grew to a week over the course of writing it for various reasons. But we're all synchronized as of right now.]

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