30 May 2012

that easy

When the keys got locked in my car while we were camping, we tried the logical thing first: everyone else's keys. We even shaved down one of SHO's keys by scratching it on the ground and some concrete structure, just because he happened to have an extra on his keychain. We were hoping that the fact that I drive one of the most commonly stolen mid-1990s cars would make it easy to break in. 

Apparently it's only easy when you have a shaved key belonging to that brand of car. Or something. Shaving a key did not work. I would make a painfully inept car thief.

One or more of us could drive back to Universe City, an hour each way, but we couldn't get into my house, because that key was also locked into the car. I could call my roommate to let us in, but my phone was locked in the car, and I don't know her number by heart.

We could call a locksmith in One Horse Town nearby, but it was impossible to predict how much that might cost on a Sunday on a holiday weekend.

And so I ended up wandering around the campground looking for someone with the same model of car and/or the camp host and/or anyone who looked like they might know how to break into a car.

The first people I came upon were two men, a middle-aged man and perhaps his father, standing next to their boat, still on its trailer, tying up fishing tackle. They did not have the same model of car, they were not the camp host, and they did not look like they knew how to break into a car.

Of course I asked them for help. What could possibly make more sense than asking the first random strangers you see to break into your car?*

The crazy and miraculous thing is that they did it.

They didn't have the professional tools, but they wedged some wood in the top of the door and straightened out a wire hanger, and partway through we realized that the ignition was set to on, so they didn't even need to get to the lock, and one of the men managed to hit the power window button for the back door, and we were in.

It was just that easy. I'm still sort of awed by this.

* I actually have precedent for the random stranger thing. I locked my keys in my baby Land Cruiser in Rwanda more times than once. The first time, I tried to hire a thief - a random thief off the street! - to break into my car. He was unsuccessful. I was disappointed, but also reassured that my baby Land Cruiser was not so easy to steal. The final time it happened, having learned a thing or two in the intervening two years, I called the Toyota dealership. Their technician needed less than 30 seconds to break into my car. And it was free. And I didn't have to worry about running into a random thief on the street who already had practice on my car.

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