Last night I dreamed I parked at our local transfer station, turned off the car and climbed out, tossing the keys back in through the open window and onto the passenger seat. That was safe to do, I figured; I was only there to throw a few bags of trash onto the conveyor belt, that great River of No Longer My Problem.
But as I was doing this, I happened to see out of the corner of my eye that an old white guy had slid in under the steering wheel, picked up my key ring and was fumbling with it in search of the key he would need to turn the car on. I remember thinking “So here’s the value of carrying so many keys around! It foils thieves!”
He got away with my car anyway, as well as my money and all my credit cards, but that isn’t the part of the dream that sticks with me.
Really the dream got me thinking about all the keys we carry these days.
Used to be, people carried their keys around in a small hard-shelled key case. All three or at the most four of your keys could be tucked away in there until you flipped one out when you were ready to use it. But now most of the people I know don’t use key cases. Instead, they have what I have: a series of strong rings from which dangle five or six or eight keys, some from rings that in turn dangle from the big ring.
So who do we think we are, Mrs. Hughes from Downton Abbey, managing a household brimming with larders and linen closets for a late-sleeping landed family and a large live-in staff? Do we think we’re St. Peter and these are the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and its Many Mansions? Why do I have literally 13 keys that I carry around in my fist? They weigh a pound if they weigh an ounce. I mean, I could use them as brass knuckles.
I recently read that some 80% of Americans complain about back pain. Under our 20 pounds of skin and the circuitry of our nerves and blood vessels, under the mighty muscles and the tendons and the strong, strong ligaments we have a skeleton, this delicate scaffolding that we must keep balanced like a tower of teacups as we move.
Isn’t it just possible that it’s these 16-odd ounces of keys that throws us out of kilter and gives us pain? If we keep them in a pocket they pull down that side of our pelvis. If we carry them in our purse, they yank down that side of our shoulder girdle.
THINK ABOUT IT! And then pray for the day we can start our cars AND open our houses with retinal scans that let us walk around free. And who knows? Maybe by then all our official docouments and our credit card info will be neatly imbedded in our skulls. 🙂