I’ve been on quite a few road trips. One that really stands out was back in 1995. I was driving from Harrisburg, PA to Greenville, SC for a job interview. I’m willing to bet you’ve locked your keys in the car. But, have you ever tried to break into your OWN car with a slim jim? Have you been aproached by a police officer during the process? Once you got into the car, have you ever found the keys were NOT inside after all?
I was only 2.5 hours into my journey when I stopped for a soda at a grocery store in Manassas, VA. When I returned to the car, I reached into my pocket for the car keys. Uh-oh…NO KEYS! Before I walked into the store, I had grabbed some trash from the backseat to throw out. So, I must have dropped my keys on the floor. What to do…what to do? There was a Pep Boys down the street. I decided to go buy a “slim jim” and pop my door open.
Mind you, I am NOT a professional car thief. This was the first time I’d ever even touched a slim jim! So, let’s say it took longer than it should have. Part of me was grateful. My car was burglar-proof! Another part was growing impatient…FAST. This was especially the case as everyone’s eyes were on the guy trying to break into what they didn’t realize was MY own car!
One set of eyes was of a Manassas police officer. After I explained my situation, he gave me the benefit of the doubt. But, he still stuck around to wait for proof of ownership inside the glove department. Finally, 20+ minutes laer, I got the door open! I quickly showed my registration card, and he left satisfied (and amused). Now, time to grab the keys anD hit the highway. I was way off schedule! But, wait…NO KEYS! Oh no, not again
I was totally stymied. They weren’t on me or ANYWHERE in my car. I did not leave them at the checkout (I went in and looked). Nor were they on the ground or floor of the store. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks (or garbage). I must have dumped them in the trash can with the stuff from my backseat!
As I opened the lid of the receptacle, I quickly realized this giant can had not been emptied that day. And, of course, my keys were not laying on top. As I sifted through the entire garbage can that busy Saturday afternoon, I didn’t think I could get stranger looks than I did while breaking into my car. Alas, I did! After 5 minutes of gross scavenging, guess what I found?
I eventualy made it South Carolina. I was offered and accepted the job! Though, it wasn’t meant to be. I left 4 months later. My first hint should have been the drama in Virginia!