Sunday, August 21, 2011

August is the month of stories

In order to share a story, you have to be in the right mood. I think I've finally gotten into the right mood for this story. It all started yesterday...

I have temporarily moved back home to Orem, Utah to work for Novarad while the Aimers is gearing up for the school year in Boston. Living at home has taken some major adjustment on my part. Life is better elsewhere, but this situation will pay some bills.

Anyway, a couple days ago I drove my dad's Dodge Spirit to work. I am not too used to living in Happy Valley, so notwithstanding the fact that no one in their right mind would ever try and break into that car, out of habit I locked the car doors. But before I locked the last door, I made sure that the key I had could open up the door. After all, I wouldn't want to lock myself out of the car. Sure enough, the lock opened up the door and everything was fine.

The next day (yesterday), I drove my brother's Cavalier to work. It is a nicer car, but not nice enough to attract criminal conduct. After pulling up to the parking lot, I rolled up the windows and locked all the doors. This time, however, I did not check to see if the key I had would unlock the door. That minor detail would prove to be significantly important.

At lunch, I went out to the car to grab my peanut butter and honey sandwich. I put the key in the car and twist. Or, I should say, I tried to twist, but it wasn't twisting. I feared that I locked myself out of the car, but for good measure go to the passenger door and try. No twisting. I checked every door in hopes that I had forgotten to lock one. No such luck. I was locked out.

My brother confirmed my fears. Apparently, Race has one of those crazy cars that has a different key for the engine than the doors and trunk. His door and trunk key was inside the car. After a couple phone calls, I found out I could get a replacement key for $25, provided I show the dealership documentation with the VIN and my name on it. The problem was that I didn't have said documentation, Race would forget to call the bank to fax the dealership said documentation, and even if said documentation was received, I needed to be Race Ostler to pick up the key. It was too bad that he was going boating right as I called too.

So I decided to not worry about it during my lunch break. I went hungry and relied on a very kind fellow-employee that I got to know through my wife last year and very coincidentally started working with. He gave me a ride home and I was determined to get the key situation ironed out later. But my dad wanted to do it the next morning, so I waited.

When I was in high school, my buddy Ray used to lock his keys in his car so often that he would have a system to breaking into his car. Hey would pry the door open a little bit, shove his wallet in the pried area towards the top of the door, and then get out a hanger that he kept under his frame. If the lock was right, you could put a hook in at the end, put the hook under the locking mechanism, pull up and it would unlock.

I thought that I could do what he did and avoid paying fees and cutting bureaucratic red tape. Race had locks that appeared to be manipulatable by a hanger hook so the next day (today), my dad and I packed plenty of hangers and headed to where the locked up car was.

The process was not as easy as I had remember it. I could only fit one fold of my wallet in between the door, which didn't give us much wiggle room with the hangers. Tried as we could, we could not get the wires to come through from the top of the door--we had to settle on pushing the wires from the right hand side of the door. This could not give us the right angle. We made hooks into the hangers to latch on to the locking mechanism, but we could hardly touch the locker.

We then made a hanger guider, which was a glorified hanger loop that we threaded the hook through so that we could guide it closer to the locker. This got it much closer. Two times, my dad latched on to the locker, pulled, and moved it a little bit, but not enough to unlock the door. We just could not get a good enough angle from the entire other end of the door.

It was getting hot. I was very grateful that very few people were in the parking lot on a Saturday morning because we must have looked either very ridiculous or very shady. We had been so far unsuccessful at moving a wire to the other end of the door frame, so we decided to switch gears. What if we tied some string to the hook and navigated it over? It was worth a try.

After a quick drive to the nearest Circle K, we were tying waxed mint dental floss to the hanger's end. When that was attached, we shoved it through the usual door part and this time I navigated it to the opposite end of the door, closer to the locker mechanism. From this vantage point, I was able to stabilize the hook. But we didn't have much luck getting the hook coming in at the right angle. We tried, tried, tried and failed, failed, failed.

My dad then had the offball idea of putting a loop of dental floss to the end of the hanger and kind of lassoing the locker mechanism. I knew that idea wouldn't work. It was almost like a joke. So I said, "Okay, let's try it." Miraculously, the loop didn't get caught on anything getting in. I used my floss to guide the hook close and slowly the lasso got closer and closer to its target. Then the lasso closed in around the locker.

At this critical point, I carefully moved my floss to the other end of the door so that both the hook and floss were opposing where the locker had to be pulled to be unlocked. We both pulled. All eyes were on the locker.

The locker pulled back. The loop then fell off the locker. I reached for the door handle, as I couldn't believe that the door was unlocked. The door opened wide. My dad and I burst into laughter. WE COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT HAD HAPPENED! That was the luckiest, flukiest thing. But it did happen. And I was glad.

We then made it home and Race was outside. He seemed happy to see his car back at home. He tried to show me where the key was that I had locked in the car, but it wasn't there. A little while later, he said, "Trent, here's the key to unlock the car doors. I had it all along."