Where'd I put those keys? A system isn't a good system unless you remember to use it.
by Bill Mehlman
Three weeks ago my car refused to start. I had AAA tow it to the closest garage where the Chief Mechanic allowed as the starter motor was shot, and I'd need a new one, and it would cost about $400. Being over the proverbial barrel, I agreed; there's a follow-up to this tale of woe, but it involves litigation rather than ADHD, so we'll skip it for now.
The old clunker (a 1996 Mercury Sable — the Royal Palm edition, with a landau top and heated rearview mirrors, which apparently serve some as-yet-undiscovered function in Broward County) ran as well as it had been running until this past Tuesday, when it reverted to a state of unresponsiveness. The engine turned over, but wouldn't fire. So, once again, AAA towed it to a garage, this one in Manhattan.
Now, I'm not a financially savvy guy, but even I can figure out that sound fiduciary judgment would argue against putting a couple of grand into a car worth about $1,500 (in theory). I waited anxiously for the verdict. When the mechanic called me, he asked if I had another key; his diagnosis led him to think that the little chip in the key I had provided might be damaged, thereby preventing the engine from firing.
This was potentially good news. Find the spare key, slip the mechanic fifty bucks for his time (you never know) and drive off, ready to hit the Jersey shore big time next month. Then commenced the Great Key Hunt. It wasn't in the ceramic bowl where we always had kept it. Wasn't in any of my jacket pockets. Wasn't in my desk or my dresser.
I called my son, who occasionally drove the Royal Palm. He held out the possibility that the key was in his apartment. Fortunately, I was able to find the spare key to his apartment and I trucked over and began to toss the place. I found lots of interesting stuff, but no key. After 45 minutes of searching, I gave up the hunt and went home. Without the key, it was looking like the mechanic would have to embark on a series of diagnostic enterprises guaranteed to exceed my proposed budget for getting the heap running again. I grabbed a beer to help me think.
As I stood in the kitchen, my gaze fell upon a little table near the front door. Hope grew as I neared it and noticed a silver dish hiding under a baseball cap. Under the cap was some mail and under that was the key. I was quite happy and proud of my determination to find the key, until I remembered why the silver dish was on the little table in the first place.
I put it there so I'd always have a place to throw my car keys I'd that when I came home.
So I wouldn't have to remember where I'd put them.
<<Cue sardonic laughter>>