Everyone loses their keys. It’s just an everyday part of life.
Some of us, though, take it to such extremes — aka my family — that we now carry AirTags on our keyfobs to keep track of those slippery suckers.
I’ve been known to lose them inside my locked car, which is not only embarrassing but wildly inconvenient. Before the pink AirTag was attached on her keychain, No. 2 would lose precious minutes on the hunt for her elusive keys, usually when she was already running late.
But none of our frantic “Oh crap! Have you seen my keys!” moments even comes close to the frantic, nail-biting, epic loss of my husband’s keys for 12 angst-ridden hours.
In another state.
After we’d already endured the soul suck that is California traffic.
And after we’d already missed our flight home.
Oh yeah, it was a thing. The lost keys were the cherry on the world’s worst sunda.
I’ll set the scene.
We were in San Luis Obispo for No. 1’s college graduation. There is no great way to get there since it’s smack in the middle of L.A. and San Francisco. There is a totes adorbs, regional airport in SLO but it will add an ugly $525.76, or thereabouts, to the price of your ticket for the convenience of flying straight where you want to go, which is an airport so wee you could tuck it in your back pocket but then you’d get frisked by TSA for having a weird bulge. We typically cheap out and fly to LAX, which in theory, based on mileage, should mean a 3.5-hour drive on Highway 101 North except that never in the history of the National Highway System has this ever happened.
Despite our four years of traveling this route and routinely getting stalled by traffic, we oddly, weirdly, inexplicably still trusted the Maps app when it said, “Stick around a little longer! Spend some precious time with your girl! You can leave at 1:15 p.m. and have PLENTY of time for that 7 p.m. flight home!”
Things went sideways a mere 15 minutes into our journey, which isn’t even enough time to get to any drama on “The Bachelor.”
Red brake lights lit up as far as our middle-aged eyes could see.
“Oh….” You can guess the expletive my husband uttered.
He grabbed his phone to check for an alternate route. We couldn’t even turn around on this two-lane stretch where we were stuck. But we were barely on the road! Surely things would turn around!
NOPE. Things only got worse.
It was actually 7 p.m. on the dot when we rolled up to the American Airlines counter, after dropping off our rental car and catching a shuttle. We had the privilege of watching the exact moment our flight status changed to departed. We would be grounded in L.A. for the night.
We trudged to a nearby hotel, booked a room and went off in search of unsatisfying airport hotel food, which was the only thing that came easily for us that day.
Back in our room, Joe started doing the Makeyrena (ha!), frantically slapping at all his pockets.
“Oh no … No, no, no, no, no …”
Then he went digging through his carryon’s nooks and crannies.
“I think I left my keys in the rental car,” he said.
“Can’t you check the AirTag?”
Well, he COULD HAVE, had he not taken it off and left it at home.
I started picking random places to look, like in my bag and in the drawer with the bible. You never know.
He called the car rental place only to realize that no living person ever answers a business phone anymore and definitely not after 5 p.m.
While I continued to ransack Embassy Suites, he Ubered back to the rental place to personally see about those keys.
Two Uber rides and hours later, we still had no car keys — because they were already on their way to San Diego. Sixt Rent A Car does not mess around, let me tell you.
We did have a backup set of keys at home, but the battery in the fob had long since died and so it was gonna be a problem. But at least it would be a tomorrow problem.
The next morning, we packed everything back up to truly, once and for all, head home.
The last thing Joe grabbed was his baseball cap, which had been plopped on the nightstand all night.
Would you care to guess what he found hidden underneath it?
You know it — his keys.