Keys and the middle aged man

Keys, it is my hypothesis, are almost never where they need to be – when they need to be there.  For example: when one is climbing 3 flights of stairs with 8 bags of “super light”, “super strong”, plastic grocery bags (yes, it is 2 more than you should!), schlepping and huffing and puffing as you finally get to the door – instinctively you know that the last thing you want to do is to set them down momentarily, in order to search for your keys! Because, no matter how quickly you find said keys, you enter into the realm of pure frustration, trying to re-finagle all 16 bag handles, (something known in my family as “Idiot’s Delight”) so that you can swoop up all the bags, only to walk them the remaining 5 paces to a kitchen counter top.

However, when you reach your door – carrying 4 more bags than you should be (did I say 2 before, it’s really 4), “but the bags are so light, and so strong!…”, the key ring, seemingly carrying every key known to mankind; the ignition key, the car door key, the apt. key and  the mailbox key (in duplicate for your ex-wife, in case of emergency), door to your ex-wife’s house (child transport logistics), the unknown key, the school building key, the school bus keys 5 in all, are on three illogically joined rings with of course the plastic discount supermarket scan ‘do-hickey”, and the rubbery, plastic advertisement for some realtor or someone – that holds it all together!, is slid all the way down on to the base of your hand on the most useless of all fingers, for the divorced male, the left hand ring finger.  I am a “righty”, thank you very much, and this set of keys is all but mercilessly tangled on this useless finger, crying out for me to somehow, not only untangle the gagle of bag handles (8 I count, …yeah, I do Math too!), but to find the slightly odd shaped, almost brass colored ring and somehow get it between my pointer and thumb of the opposite hand, so that i might have enough leverage to actually insert into the lock and turn to open the “flippin'”door.

Now (long pause), this ritual has been performed dozens of times over the last several years.  However it has only recently exposed itself as the “brain stumping”, quasi paranormal phenomenon of “Key Displacement” that it is. Yes, well getting back to my hypothesis.  All sets of keys held by adults -will do their best (yes the “keys” have become a pronoun for my purposes), to be in the worst possible position for one to locate, manipulate and – all in all- efficiently utilize for daily activities -whenever possible!.  There are any number of activities in which I have anecdotally witnessed or participated in such frustration, as commonly takes place (mostly among adults) because of this phenomenon.

You doubt in this phenomenon!?… Why did someone invent the “key clapper” for key location for mature people (adults)? I got one in my stocking one Christmas.

Yes, this phenomenom exists alright and can be described best by “Something that transports, most assuredly against your will, your “clutch” of keys, from your best planned location for them, at any point in time – but usually right before you will want them -to their most inconvenient position within your immediate universe.”

Here are a couple of examples.  You have exited the car with a friend to do some shopping, and very carefully laid your keys in the little zipper insert pocket within your purse, only to find an hour and a half later as you approach your car door, and the rain is transforming from a drizzle into a “typhoon”, your keys are almost pasted to the bottom of your purse below years of facial tools, receipts, and general debris! – “Key Displacement!”

On another occassion you are riding back from the beach, commensurately sunburned, fatigued, with sand in all the wrong places, and your eyelids trying to glue closed from the salt residue of the day.  You have your windbreaker on as you exit the car (the airconditioning gave you a chill) it is still 92 in the sun, with 93% humidity, you open the trunk and lug out the towels, beach chair, the mini-flexible cooler with shoulder strap, the carry-all beach bag, with books, sunscreen, frisbee, balls etc…In your free hand you carefully place the car keys in your right windbreaker pocket.   You make a last ditch effort to leave the car as it was before your trip and scoop up two soda cans and a water bottle with what was your free – right -hand.  You make the walk away from the car, up the curb – realizing the towels and the beach chair are beginning to slip.  Instead of sticking to the walk-way you cut across the lawn, only to have your flip-flop toe…get caught in the long grass.  You almost sprawl, but catch yourself, the sweat now trickling down your sunburned shoulder blades and your windbreaker beginning to stick to your upper arms.  You feel that you can just make it, as the bathroom calls….and, up one, two, all three steps. You’re at comfort’s door, and you’re able to wedge the two cans and one bottle under your left arm-pit, so that you can get your right hand in your right windbreaker pocket – – where you so carefully put them, planning for this moment – from years of experience.  This is not the act of an 18 year old… But, alas they keys are in your left windbreaker pocket…..and you know how it goes from there.

Key Displacement”


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