Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Key to Life

"It will be $150 and three weeks for delivery."

I hadn't asked about a piece of jewelry or the latest electronic gadget. Only a spare key for my car.

A key. Metaphorically, it's hard to find a more simple object with deeper meaning... the key to the future, to the heart, to the city... but when you strip away those metaphors, you're left with a piece of metal and a nonsensical contrast of importance and expense between different kinds of keys.

I took a trip to the hardware store recently to have a key made to the front door of my house for my cleaning lady. The clerk asked me how many copies I needed. "One, thanks."

It cost me .89 to make a tool that would allow its user access to most of my worldly possessions... and I didn't have to show proof of ownership, an ID or anything. For the spare car key I would need a copy of the title and my driver's license... but for my house, just the original key, and I could've made 10 copies for eight bucks and change.

Then we'll turn around and spend thousands of dollars on a home security system.

I have a neighbor who always leaves his house unlocked, but has a thousand dollar talking security system on his car. If you walk too close to it you'll hear, "MOVE AWAY FROM THE VEHICLE!! I REPEAT, MOVE AWAY FROM THIS VEHICLE!!!! But... if you need anything in the house, you know, GO RIGHT IN!!!"

Ironically, most of the time my $150-keyed car is unlocked and parked in the garage of... my .89-cent-keyed house.

I also find it humorous that we lock our luggage. Those little locks, with a good firm twist, will break into several pieces. Most times, those locks are simply securing two zipper tabs together. All of our traveling possessions are being guarded by cloth and a zipper, but we feel better when we click the little padlock closed. Keep your key, just give me a sharp pocket knife and I could lay waste to most any piece of Samsonite and take whatever's inside.

Keys. Complex or simple, they give us comfort somehow. We know our things are locked up, our lives are safe and we can sleep.

Yet for three quarters, a dime and four pennies you can go right in and take whatever you want.

If there is a valuable lesson here, it must be this:

Don't piss off the cleaning lady.


Lee Ann said...

I would like to hear that voice of the talking security system in your radio voice...how cool would that be?
Yeah, those little luggage locks are a joke. Plus, they break them off at the airport if they are locked, so there is no point at all!

::ezrgot:: - easier got (no key?)

Angie said...

The key in the photo would open every door in my house. Every lock is original from 1909 and use the same skeleton key.

Justice said...

You got it right about the luggage. I lock my luggage to keep everything from falling out. I realize that anyone who really wanted to get in would be able to do so with very little effort.

Anonymous said...

been married? there are NO keys... just locks, and none easily broken.

Spinning Girl said...

Is it odd that I actually counted out the change in the denomination you gave? Am I OCD or what?

And what about people who lock only the front door? Nobody uses that door anyway.

wordver: spoki

Chris Cope said...

And now, of course, the TSA frowns on locking your luggage. At MSP airport, they go into a little fit if you have a lock on the luggage.

Rob Seifert said...

I seem to recall that BMWs are fun to drive though the last one I owned was a 1973 "2002". Of course keys for those were, and I imagine, still are fairly easily found and reproduced... Chuckle. Ah well, at least you can get Chinese food delivered.

Keys merely open doors, it's up to us to walk through... There's no lock on the planet that's failsafe... Security and safety are illusions relative to the subject's current state of denial. Still, I'd be nice to the cleaning lady. You never know... ;-)


Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I've always believed Americans values their cars too much and their homes too little.

This is anecdotal proof.

I enjoyed this post, Dave.

~The Goofy Ass Chick said...

If Arsenio Hall were still around this would so go on his list of things that make you go "Hmnn".

Great observation, although I'm anal retentive and lock everything including my windows.

Bobby said...

i know so many people who alarm their cars and leave their house open. argh.

Mishka said...

I lock everything even though I live in a safe area (I have just lived in unsafe areas for too long to get out of the habit).

I even lock my luggage (I have TSA approved locks so they can get in them if they need to and they haven't yet), but mostly that is so my zippers don't unzip in transit. I saw a bag on the carosel at the airport that had come unzipped and it was aweful.

Weary Hag said...

I'll never forget, when I was about 10, my grandfather's house was broken into - he had a strongbox with all his lifelong important documents in it. It was taken so easily, locked and all, in a heartbeat. Stock papers, bonds, savings bonds, insurance documentation, even some old old silver coins and certificates. Gone. The impression it made on me was "why bother going through the trouble to lock such a thing? To keep it from the people in your own house who wouldn't go in there anyway?"

Excellent post Dave ... you make such a good point.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

But, of course, you do have closed circuit TV so you can watch where and when and how many times she curled up for a nap/to watch TV, right?

Spinning Girl said...

Just stopping by to show you my new avatar. You likey?

Dr. Mike said...

Dave, great post! I guess I'll leave my house AND my car unlocked from now on... and save 89 cents!