Today I learned the stress of something that I have always considered a minor and silly problem that older forgetful people find themselves in. After going through it myself I now know how unsettling the dilemma can be and that younger people are not immune to experiencing it.
As I got up from my desk at noon to go to the gym I patted down my pockets and realized my keys weren’t there. Calmly I looked down at my desk and started shuffling papers. No luck. I went out into our little open space to see if I somehow dropped them on a table or ledge when I went out to greet people. After not finding them I went to the most likely spot I thought I could have left them, our storage closet. More than once I have left my keys in our good-sized marketing storage room. You need a key to get in so I usually take my key chain out, open the door, and then set my keys down on a shelf inside the room while I search for what I am looking for. With the door to the room still open I went in and looked…nothing.
At this time the first wave of uneasiness swept through me. The times I had misplaced my keys before I found them in five minutes. This go-around I had checked the usual places and came up empty. As I had a busy morning I started to think about all the places around the Adams Center I had covered. The upstairs offices, the Hall of Champions, the basketball court, the ticket office lobby, the Sky Club, and even the restroom were all places I had ventured to during the morning. I started the process of retracing my steps.
As I started to go back to these places without success I thought about the ramifications of losing my keys. I first thought about my University key. It gets me into my office, lets me into Washington-Grizzly Stadium, opens up the Dahlberg Arena gates, provides me access to many smaller and important rooms around the athletic department, and unlocks our smaller gym doors. Not only would it pain me personally to go without that access until I got a replacement but it would also pose a huge burden to our facilities staff as most likely those areas would be re-keyed.
I then thought about my apartment. How would I sleep tonight? I don’t get home from work until at least after 5 p.m., well after the property management had left for the day. I would have no way of entering my warm home, fixing dinner, blogging, and going to bed.
But not getting into my apartment was a moot point to begin with because I had no way of actually getting there…my car key and car door opener were both gone now. I knew I had a spare car key in my apartment but without having access to my apartment, well, you know how that goes. Very quickly the numerous negative impacts of losing my keys started to pile up. I didn’t even mention the complexities of also losing my storage unit key, mailbox key, and my lucky Las Vegas key chain.
After about thirty minutes of fruitless searching I made the move to retrace my steps from when I got out of my car, shuffled across the parking lot, and walked into the building. Trekking through the snow, peering into my car to see if I left my keys inside, and moving my head around like it was on a swivel I once again came up empty handed. I was now a little stressed. Our sports information director who could see it in me as I continuously came in and out of our offices looking around asked what I was doing. I told him my problem and he just said they would turn up. At this point I pretty much just took stock in what he said and I left to go to the place I originally intended to got before my unfortunate realization set in regarding my keys.
As I wrote about before, the gym is my refuge. When I am there I think. And think a lot. My mind is cleared and my brain activity is at its highest level. While I was on my wild goose chase I kept telling myself “Just go to the gym and you will be okay…it will come to you then.” But because of my stubbornness I decided to spend almost an hour of negative energy getting nowhere.
At the exact midpoint of my Tuesday workout a giant light turned on inside my head and an even bigger smile came across my face. Without even putting too much pressure on myself to figure out my problem during my gym session I had suddenly realized the solution to my agonizing mystery. I felt light as a feather for the remainder of my workout.
After changing I hustled back to work and went directly to our archive room where we keep all our records, programs, photos, slides, etc from the 100+ year history of Grizzly Athletics. There in the back of the room on the shelf storing our football media guides laid my keys. Forgetting that I helped someone with a project regarding the coaching staffs from the 2008 and 2009 football teams I totally neglected to look there this morning. I grasped my keys in my hand and went back to my desk feeling victorious.
I now have a very familiar idea on the helplessness that accompanies not knowing where your keys are. The contents of a key chain literally open so many doors that to no longer have that access is a crushing feeling. Now one of my readers please tell me, there are key trackers that people can purchase, right? Don’t Blink.