Right, I’m 40-mumble years old and can pass as a responsible adult when so called upon. I last lost my keys when I was 16-17. I was at the fair and they almost certainly fell out of my pocket on one of the rides.
Well, last lost my keys… until this weekend past.
I went heavily-laden round a friend’s house for our annual, all-hands, all-day gathering. Rucksack, satchel, large carry-all. Was lugging a lot of stuff, the day’s beer for starters, plus everyone prefers to do overdue birthday presents face-to-face rather than getting anonymous items delivered on the day. A mighty fun time was had by all and I subsequently walked home with other friends around midnight. At my front door, oh! no keys. Luckily, someone was in. Dropped my bags off, removed my shoes, trousers, coat, checked all pockets, checked my bags, gritted my teeth and headed out re-trousered and re-shod.
I walked all the way back to my friend’s house at half-speed, scanning the pavement left and right, one step shy of going full-fingertip search. Texted apologetically ahead to ask if I could come in and have a look for them. My mate had a rummage himself, let me have a look round, pointed me towards the bin bags full of the day’s detritus. No luck. Dispirited, I headed home again by the same route, scanning the pavement even more closely as I walked.
Got home again, hauled half my clothes off and crashed on the sofa, next to half my dumped gear. Woke up around nine and just laid there for a while. I hadn’t just lost my house keys, I’d lost the keys to little easily-broken-into-anyway things around the house, I’d lost the treasured keyring that my sister brought me back from Austria ~15 years ago, I’d even lost the daft LEGO(tm) hotdog-guy keyring I bought in Brighton last year, but worst of all, I’d lost my work keys. Which is a fair 50-50 chance I’d lost my job too – “YOU HAD ONE JOB, STEVENGER!”
I’m shit at meditation, breathing exercises, that sort of thing. I’m pretty sure the point is that you’re not meant to fall asleep. I always do though and pragmatist that I be, that’s how I bring myself down if I can’t doze off. Clear my racing mind, deep breaths, focus inward, ZZZZZZ.
I woke again at 11.30am to a message on my phone “Any joy? We’ve not turned up anything”. Shit! Shit, shit, shit! I know I had my keys when I went there, and I know if they were ever between here and there then they aren’t any more. Common wisdom (usually my wisdom!) has it that you always check the last place you saw something first. The last place I had my keys was at my friend’s house, when rummaging around in my pocket for my phone.
Previous to that of course I had them when I unlocked the “present cupboard” in my spare room, but I know they aren’t in there, because I know I left the house with them. It’s nearly noon, I absolutely have to ring the boss to tell them that I’ve lost my work keys, maybe I should have done so sooner, but I so wanted to believe that they’d be found at my friends’ house.
I feel sick, I absolutely do not want to call my boss.
I walk slowly up the stairs, towards the last-but-one place where I saw them, telling myself that when I see they aren’t there, I’ll make myself make the phonecall.
In a somewhat Chestertonian inversion of how-things-work my spare room is actually the tidiest room in my house, since it sees so little use. So when I walk in, the first thing I see is a beautifully-made bed with a clump of my bastard keys on it. I must have been carrying so much that I skimped on my usual house-leaving “keys, wallet, phone, watch” check.
Reader, I cursed them.