Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Locke & Key

In the last nine months, or so, I have had more lock and key experiences than I care to imagine, or remember.  Now, I have walked this planet for enough years to have been able to say with some pride I had never lost my keys, or my wallet.  The wallet is mostly explainable because I don't carry one.  So, how can you lose what you don't have?

The keys on the other hand are something I have always carried on my person, yet I still had never lost them until just this year.  It all began one night when I was closing up at the bar, and after my recent promotion at work as an Undercover Parking Violations Officer.  I'm so undercover, they don't even know I got a promotion at work, but I did gain access to a multitude of keys.  This certainly exacerbated the problem.

In order to do my job, I am constantly grabbing different keys for different reasons.  There's one key for the office door.  Another key to get into the closet inside the office, and yet another key for the closet outside the office.  The key box is located inside the closet, inside the office, where the key to the truck is to remain unless in use.  I already lost two truck keys this past year and have managed to get them replaced without to much repercussion at work other than after the second time, the Director did tell me she was going to kill me if I lost it again.

But it all started with Olivia.  I'm going to use her real name because she's heard me talk about this more than once, and yesterday was not an exception.  There I am, having just left work, not abusing my alcohol because I always drink every last drop.  You'll never see Gabe Newman leave a half glass of beer on the table.  That is alcohol abuse at it's finest.

Why do they call it alcohol abuse?  It's self-abuse, especially when I was hitting the vodka, straight and cheap.  Yet, that vodka got me through some cold nights sleeping outside and I'd have rather woken up after that self-abuse than to have stayed awake all night in the freezing cold.  The memories of homelessness are still fresh, but one thing you don't have to worry about is where your keys are because you don't have any!

So, besides the fact I have entered an environment of employment that has revealed to me the opposite end of the key spectrum, this course of challenge has endured for the better part of the last twelve months when Olivia returned from the office to let me know that she couldn't get the office door unlocked.  I didn't think anything of it since it was her first shift working.  I wrote it off to the fact that there was one trick to locking the back door, another trick to locking the front door and since I never went in the office, I just figured it was another trick she hadn't learned yet, and I couldn't help her.

I still had a couple of hours work to do.  She split for the night, and I continued with the clean up from the Thursday night crowd.  The best thing about the Georgia Bar is that it is an older crowd.  You get all kinds during football season, but on a daily basis the regulars shuffle in and out without anybody ever throwing up.  It's not until football season that the pukers show up.

After I had finished and I went to lock up for the night... after first struggling to lock the back door, I could not get the front door to lock either.  My favorite pool table, the funkiest pool table in the whole wide world, became my resting place for the night.  I shoved my book bag underneath my head for a pillow and caught whatever light Zzzzz's I could before I reported for my day job the next morning, just a couple of hours away.

That was then, and as I've said the number of lock and key experiences I've had during the past year have been too numerous to remember, and too numerous to forget.  Yet, yesterday was just one more wonderful lock and key experience.

My phone rang at 4:30pm thirty minutes after I had left for the day.  I work from 7am to 4pm which are great hours for someone operating undercover.  It was one of the booth attendants asking where the keys were for the closet inside the office.  Well, I thought to myself... there are only two places where that set of keys go.  I tried to remember distinctly what I had done, but besides the fact that I have all these keys to deal with, I now have several community service workers coming in to serve out their probation usually for DUI, or marijuana possession.  Currently, it seems I have as many community service workers  to deal with as I do keys!!!

I told the attendant I would be right there.  Earlier that day, I had also used the Chief's keys to the parking meters to replace dead batteries.  That was an abnormality because we have our own set of keys in the undercover office.  Couple that with the abnormality of three community service workers in one day, and you can become a little scattered.  However, I did distinctly remember putting the meter keys in the usual place we stashed our set, but because I was busy considering how to keep these three guys busy, I put them where we keep ours by force of habit.

Anyway, I'd had enough of those guys.  So, I told them to go home.  I can't think straight okay.  Leave me alone, was my attitude.  Unless they wanted to stick around and peal up gum from the concrete then get the eff outta here, is what I wanted to say, but I didn't.  That's was at 3pm.

At 3:30pm the security guard shows up for the evening shift.  He always locks the closet outside the office when he starts his shift at 4pm, but yesterday he locked it earlier.  My change of shoes and shirt are back there.  So, this early locking caused me to have to go get the set of keys for the closets and do another 180.  Disgusted, I grabbed the keys without saying a word went to change my shoes to flip-flops one of the best feelings in the world at the end of the day.

I completed that task and went to return the keys and off to the bar I went.  As I said, by 4:30pm my phone was ringing in search of the key to the closet inside the office.  I headed that way.  The closet door keys weren’t anywhere to be found.  I figured, in my haste, I must have put them inside the key box inside the closet that locks when you close the door.  I had done this before.  So, that must be where they are. 

The last place I could think of to check was the truck.  So, I made my way there.  The batteries we were using to replace dead batteries were there, but not the keys I was looking for.  Instead, I found an entirely new set of keys for a Chevrolet and various other keys.  The only other person in the truck that day was one of the community service workers.  So, now I have three sets of keys that I’m dealing with when at first I was just looking for one set.  Ahhhhhhh!

None of this makes any sense unless you understand one thing about Olivia.  Her last name is Locke.