After I moved from the warm, sunlit shores of Santa Cruz to the cold, snowy mountains of Sandy, I discovered with horrifying clarity the power I surrendered.
I was wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and in my barefeet when I left my apartment, realizing just as the gateway to my only source of shelter slammed shut with a loud bang that I left my keys inside with the kitchen stove boiling rice while the bleak winter clouds blasted down snow on a Sunday when all the honest locksmiths were closed. My wife who was tired from a long day’s work had to hike six long miles to get home, she screamed at me when she arrived watching me hopping from toe to toe on the glaciers of our parking lot–she was mad, mad about the burning rice, mad about freezing her butt off outside in the cold dark night, and most of all mad at me for desperately eyeing the hefty stones on the ground near the kitchen window, my intentions to escape the polar tundra as clear as glass.
Eventually we got ahold of a”locksmith” who drove all the way from Gresham, losing his way many times on the long, winding country roads, barely arriving in time to spare my dark blue toes from frostbite. I had my doubts about the locksmith perhaps because his company car was a rusty old pinto, perhaps because his oversized jeans were dirty and torn, perhaps becuase he hadn’t bathed in weeks, perhaps because he kept rocking back and forth and grinding his brown gooey teeth.
Legitimate locksmith or not, he knew how get into a locked apartment, his tools being what looked like a thick a hairpin and tension wrench fashioned from an old windshield wiper. After a fair amount of fiddling and cursing, we burst inside the apartment. I rushed over to the pot of rice which was smoking fiercely just about to catch flames, turning off the hot stove just in time to trigger the fire alarm’s piercing squeal.
That was the night I decided to learn how to pick locks only to discover that picking locks is a reckless waste of time when all you really need to get inside almost any house is a bump key. Bump keys are frightening easy to buy or make and they’re foolproof for most neighborhood locks.
Sometimes when WhatsHisFace who starred in YouKnowThatMovieIAmTalkingAbout escapes me, I wish I could make a bump key for my brain. I’d unlock all the good memories from my childhood, all of the college lectures I attended, all of the fantastic ideas I’ve read in books, but mostly I’d use the bump key to open the part of my brain for remembering to not to lock my barefeet outside in the cold winter snow.