Who Needs Keys?

Based on a true story:

The vivid greens of the Virginia summer blurred past as she finally crossed the state line. Relief. Peace. Happiness. She felt all of those as she lifted her foot off the gas and looked for anywhere that she might find a map. A highway sign announced a visitors center just off the road.

She pulled into the wrong parking lot first, but made a quick u-turn and made it to the center without further incident. She did a mental inventory of the items in her car. Camera, purse, half-gone Starbucks latte, empty sandwich wrapper. She grabbed the irreplaceable items from her camera bag–work keys, flash drives, SD cards–and threw them into her purse. She removed the key from the ignition and emptied the passenger seat of its trash.

As she walked to the trash can, she wondered somewhat vacantly if she remembered actually dropping the work keys into her purse. She tossed the trash in the bin and heard a telling metallic clank.

“Goddammit,” she muttered without any actual irritation. Thankfully, she had picked the only trashcan whose lid was not fastened down. She pushed it back and examined the contents. McDonalds bag, her Starbucks wrapper, various papers and maps. Nothing wet, nothing sticky. She lunged her bare hand into the mess and dug for her lost treasure. The keys had buried themselves at the very bottom of the can. She lifted the third bag of McDonalds throw-aways and laughed at the glinting metal pinned between a water bottle and the side of the bin.

She pulled the keys from their accidental home and marched into the visitors center, far less worried about the map. Time to find a bathroom and soap.


And that, children, is the opening scene of my first trip to Virginia in two years. The second scene involves panicking at the sound of real thunder. Today was . . . interesting.

However, I didn’t lose my temper once. I got a little impatient a couple of times, but the freeway does that to people. It was a good start to the week, though. All work and no play for the next 5 days. I’m actually pretty excited to see what happens.


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