01 September 2011

The Case of the Missing House Key

A few days ago, my friend posted on her facebook that she had a vacation and asked for input on which way to drive. I said that if it weren't for the massive flooding currently going on from Hurricane Irene (this was the day after), she should come visit me. I wouldn't suggest a visit if I didn't mean it, but I was still pleasantly surprised when she said she was coming up. I'm on vacation indefinitely and, quite honestly, pretty bored with not working. So I was pumped. I haven't had a lot of visitors in my new apartment, but I'm really happy with how it's looking (remind me to post updated pictures! The Buy Nothing Summer has definitely helped!).

Let me tell you a little about my friend: She is an amazing person, she really is, but she gets super worked up when she's talking and there are times when it's impossible to get a word in edgewise. This can be grating, yes, like if you have a headache or something, but she's generally pretty self-aware, so it's usually more amusing than anything else. I did warn Nick about this trait before she came up.

The next thing is that she had just found out that her husband wanted a divorce. Now I knew I was in for an unusually high quotient of chatter, but I also really wanted to be a good friend by showing her a good time and helping her see that the situation is actually a positive thing. Her husband is a good man, generally, but there are fundamental differences in their temperments and lifestyle that would be really difficult for any couple to contend with: she loves adventure and travel, he loves staying home and watching sports. She loves going out and trying new things; he is allergic to everything you can imagine, except, apparently, cats. She is a champaign thrift store shopper; he thinks used things are icky. She is super positive; he is Debbie Downer. Plus, they got married 9 days after their first date.

Yes. 9 days is no exaggeration, and I played a big role in bringing the two of them together. They knew each other in passing, because he was the shuttle bus driver at our school. Lest you think of him as a creepy old man, know that she and I were both adult students at our school and they are the same age (or close to it.) One day I rode the shuttle alone and he starting talking about how he was so into her and just didn't know how to approach her in that way. So I threw the boy a bone: I invited him to the party I was hosting that weekend. Long story short: my birthday is December 21 (send presents); they were married by the new year.

Believe me, no one really thought they'd make it. I'm sure everyone who knew her shared a collective WTF moment. I figured if anyone could have a happy marriage, the two of them just might make it. (No offense to married peeps, but I'm just not the marrying kind.)

When I heard she was coming to visit, before I heard about the D-word, I told another friend the story and said, "Well, it's 6 years later and they still are together. They proved everyone wrong!" Oops.

Here's something about me that you don't know: I am the break-up-  maker. Like a rainmaker bringing in big money accounts or water-filled days, I bring break ups to unhappy couples around the world. Or, at least, in the eastern united states. I have lost track of how many people I have met who were in unhappy relationships who split shortly after one of the pair spent a few hours in conversation with me. Whether they've been together for a few months or many years, people just seem to break up when I'm around.

While I'm not actively encouraging break ups, generally, I think it's because I say the shit that the unhappy person is thinking but unable to say for themselves. I am tactful, but I also don't sugarcoat the truth. I ask the hard questions. I am completely supportive of their right to find a way to be happy, and if that involves breaking up with their current beau, so be it. I am the one person who says it's okay to do what you want.

Of course, generally I'm counseling the one who wants the split. This is not the case with my friend, though she started owning the divorce during the whirlwind 24 hours we spent together.

Can you sense that drama is coming to this little tale?

So, my friend is a total beach girl, and the whole time she was talking about the visit, she mentioned the beach, so I'm like, "Alright, the girl wants beach, let's give it to her!" Nick and I drove her to South Shore beach late last night (which was WRECKED by the hurricane by the way!) We were the only people around as we drank wine while sitting on the rocks on the destroyed beach watching the powerful waves roll in and out. It was beautiful and scary and sad all at the same time. She only facebooked a little while we were there.

The next morning, I woke up to find Nick had left a spare key with a little note for my friend as well as some delicious chocolate almond croissants for our breakfast. (Best. Boyfriend. Ever.) She woke up shortly after and went in and out for cigarettes breaks at least half a dozen times before 10 am. (Perspective: 6 cigarettes in 90 minutes. OMG.). I didn't care about the smoking, whatever it's your body, but I was a little worried about the fact that she was outside screaming on the phone. I wouldn't have been surprised if someone had called the cops on the crazy crackhead on a rampage. The maintenance guy almost escorted her from the property, until she explained she was staying with me. (My place is like fort knox in a shady neighborhood. This is a good thing.)

At some point between cigarette breaks and coming in and out of the house, she lost the house key. Lost, completely, gone. I mentioned that this is a shady neighborhood, right? Random people sit on my porch all the time to smoke doobies and, probably, some other stuff. We find brown-bagged bottles at least once a week or so. I did not want someone to find the key and think "Alright, moving day!"

Logically, I figured that the key was probably inside the house, since she had managed to get inside the house, but, realistically, that might not be the case. She'd been propping the door open before I gave her the key, so I had no way of knowing for sure. The thing about that key to my place is that it opens every door in the place. Front door, back door, both at the house entrances and in the apartment itself. It opens the basement door. And the deadbolts. Can you see why I might have been concerned?

My friend, however, was not so concerned. She looked for it, but in a half-assed, oh well, it's gone forever, just like my marriage, kind of way. She didn't seem to think it was a big deal at all.

Since we were already running late, I said we'd look for it later. (I did a quick look outside, just in case, but didn't find it.) She promptly forgot all about it and spend the day telling us how she was going to stick up for herself and express herself anyway she wanted. She'd be honest about what she was thinking at all times. She recanted the many battles between the couple, both to us and on her many phone conversations in our company. We drove to Race Point at Cape Cod. The beach was awesome, so calm compared to South Shore the night before. I found it very relaxing. She was distressed not to have facebook connectivity. Still, I thought we were having a good time.

I didn't mention or even think about the key all day, but on the way home, I said that I wanted to look for it thoroughly when we got home. We got home and she seemed to have forgotten all about it again. She was either talking on the phone or outside smoking so I decided to communicate with her chosen form of communication by sending her a text. (I thought about a smoke signal, but I'm not a smoker and not that talented anyway.) The text was non-accusatory, simple addressed the way I was feeling. I said "I am worried about the key being lost and I would like to find it tonight so I don't worry about it all night. I'm ocd, I know it."

It wasn't like I said, "Hey, biznitch, you lost my key and you better find it or Imma cut yo face."

I was perfectly civil and there wasn't a shred of anger in me about it. I just thought, "Oh that ditzy divorcee!" I understand that her headspace was all muddled, and that I was probably overworrying about the key. But here's the thing: I have a touch of OCD in me, probably everyone does. I will often be lying in bed and wonder if the deadbolts are on the doors. I will worry about it excessively unless I get up and just check. Once I check them for myself, I'm fine. It's a mild compulsion, but it's a long-standing one that probably stems from living alone for 6 years. I knew that I would keep waking up in the night listening for intruders (with a key, argh!) if I didn't just find that key safe and sound.

She'd been expressing the hell out of herself all day, so I didn't see a problem in just telling her what I was worrying about. I figured we'd dump her bags out together, look through stuff, and, most likely, find the key. I wasn't accusatory or angry in any way, which is what made her reaction all the more shocking.

She came upstairs and, at first, I thought she was looking in her bags, so I said "where can I look?" I had already torn apart the couch, in case it was behind the cushions, and looked underneath it, too. I looked everywhere that it might logically have been placed by a scattered divorcee, but I didn't look through her stuff, of course. Then I realized that she was packing up her stuff, not looking through it. She said, "I'm going to a hotel."

I said, "Are you serious? You would rather just leave than help give me peace of mind by looking for the key?"

She said, and I quote, "I can't believe you are worrying about a little key when your friend is getting a divorce!"

"Are you kidding me?" I said. "I just want to find the key to my house!"

She's like, "Yeah, well, I lost the key. So sue me. You know what's going on in my life right now."

Oh yeah. I'm the jerk here. In case you didn't know.

I said, "I just want you to look for it. I'll help you. You don't have to leave. This is crazy."

It didn't matter.

She said some more crap. I said "Wouldn't you be OCD if I lost your house key? Don't you think this is a little irresponsible?"

At this point I was completely furious and just walked out of the room. By then, I didn't give a crap if she left or stayed. I was over it. When she came to say goodbye, she was talking to me like I was the crazy one, like I was getting upset over some small trivial thing. I just said, "You know what, Cherie, fuck that."

She left.

Apparently, I am a terrible person for being concerned that the key that opens every single door in my house and to the building was lost by an inconsiderate divorcee.  The loss of that key jeopardizes both my apartment and safe well-being, but also that of the other people who live in the building. I have to be honest: I cannot afford to pay a locksmith to change all five of the locks that key opens and for master keys for the other people in the building.  How dare I get upset about her complete lack of consideration about a little old key? Seriously, she was so flippant about the key the whole time, when I know full well if the situation were reversed, she'd go nuts.

I just can't believe it and am still completely flabbergasted by the situation. [I love the word flabbergasted and don't get to use it nearly enough.] If I had lost someone's house key, I would feel like a complete shit and I would tear everything apart until I found it. I wouldn't turn the situation around on the person, making them feel bad for something I did!

I just have to hope that she finds the key in her cluttered belongs and eats crow when she does.

I also hope that nobody creepy is planning a visit to my apartment.

Seriously: what happened here? Am I a complete jerk for worrying about a lost key? I don't think I'm in the wrong at all here, but, hey, I've been wrong before. At least I can admit that.


  1. Seriously, no, you dealt with this perfectly, and had every right to be the one enormously pissed off. If it was lost at the beach or the mall or somewhere far from your house, that's one thing. But right in front of the house it unlocks?!? I lost my key like that once in PA, and someone found it, found my apartment and took my VCR (thank god that was all they took, they could have cleaned the place out!) Your "friend" should be ashamed. I really hope she finds the key in her things for you.

  2. Yeah, I would be freaking out about a key if it was lost right by your house. I think you were justified in getting upset and asking for help.

  3. If I lost your key, I'd look high and low for it and be more upset than you.

  4. I know your friend has stuff going on in her life but that doesn't give her the right to be so selfish. It's a HUGE issue that she lost your key. I would be ripping my hair out trying to find it if I was you or her. I spotted that the key has now turned up in your friend's belongings, thank goodness, though she didn't rush to yell you. You know, some friends you can do without.......

  5. You did the right thing, and spoke (texted) in an appropriate way. Your "friend" obviously is quite self-centered and behaved badly. She should have stopped whatever she was doing to search with you, until the key got found. I would have been SPASTIC if I lost a friend's housekey; you are not OCD about it. I hope it turns up; if not, perhaps you can replace one lock at a time, starting with the front door. Good luck!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...