Y’see, the problem isn’t that I don’t have good ideas. I have great ideas. I just ignore them.
Wayward and I were in high school when the amazing, binary switch moment came. (I like that phrase, ‘binary switch moment.’ Got it from a book about robotics scientists. I’ll have to look up the guy to give credit where credit is due. Though it’s probably anecdotal in Geek.) Wayward and I were two of a kind. That kind being the kind of kid no one cares where and what they’re doing as long as they’re not in trouble. It had been that way more or less all our lives. Or at least since we had been able to change our own diapers. But the moment came when we realized that that not only applied to the few hours after school but it could be extended out over an entire weekend. Couple this epiphany with the fact that we had cars and like teenage boys had since Noah’s boys blew off the Ark, Ararat and Authority figures, we rediscovered the Road Trip. Oh yeah, we were flippin' geniuses.
Now, despite meticulous planning and packing Rachel, my Ford Bronco up to the windows (two kitchen sinks, just in case the first one broke) we soon learned that the quest to escape all rules, rites and regulations came with a few rules, rites and regulations of its own. You never, apparently escape societal constraints; you merely trade one culture’s for another’s. We learned this in less than thirty miles. At our first rest stop to replenish the coffee tanks and pump the bilges we returned to my lil’ mule to find that I had locked the keys in the ignition. After acquiring an expert in all things automotive with a slim jim and giving him a half an hour, I took the implement and opened the door myself. It was a pan of life’s mud that when sifted gave up a priceless nugget of experiential wisdom. And thus the two rules were born.
Rule one: When traveling, everyone has a key to the car.
Rule number two: When traveling, EVERYONE HAS A KEY TO THE FRIGGIN’ CAR!!!
Now it wasn’t learned right away. It was created right away but it wasn’t driven home until my lovely fiancée and I and again Wayward went to see Bad Company and Damn Yankees down in the city one night and it happened again. This time costing ninety dollars and a chunk of my evening to the nice locksmith. After THAT time we started making sure that Everyone Has A Key To The Car.
Now maybe it was the point that my son Happ doesn’t drive. And maybe it was because i’m no longer in the habit of locking cars. But for whatever reason, Happs or habits, I found myself in Piscataway, New Jersey this weekend, (yeah, I know, New Jersey.) peering through the windshield of my Chevy, looking at my key in the middle console. It was only then that I considered the two key fobs that I don’t use that were also locked safely away in the console. It took longer for the nice locksmith to verify my credit than it did to break into my truckette. You may think that hyperbole. And you’d be grossly mistaken, my cynical friend. The fobs went into Happ’s lacrosse bag and the knob went into my sleeping bag to wonder again at the fact that I carry around this heavy old brain that I never use. I wonder what they’re fetching on the black market these days. If I trade mine for a motorcycle I’ll never have to worry about being locked out again.