Breaking news: a car was stolen today in the hipster suburb of Surry Hills. The car’s alarm sounded for several minutes during the theft, but everyone was too cool to look.
And that means I actually left the confines of home and went to the office today, which means I did not visit my local coffee shop which means that they’re probably worried sick about me.
I have a mimosa craving and I don’t know what a mimosa is. I think I’m just thirsty. It’s a drink, right?
From the archives… The following happened exactly 10 years ago today (give or take 17 months).
I was returning home to my apartment, which at the time was in an apartment block. I was checking the mail, in the place where the 170 mailboxes are.
This block was a bit of a shit hole and there were all sorts of ferals living there.
Across the street there was a park where on Sundays some nut-job played the bagpipes from 10am to 2pm. Unit 403 housed a complimentary nut-job who screamed pointlessly at the bagpiper to shut up. From 10am to 2pm. That’s not part of the story, just an example of the wildlife that inhabited this block.
So, as I was saying, I was checking the mail, when I saw that someone had left their keys sticking out of their letter box key slot.
Option 1: fuck ‘em
I could just leave the keys in the mailbox, it’s not my problem. If I never involved myself I am not part of whatever happens next (what no one seems to take into account when addressing the trolley problem — I will feel less attached to the outcome if I just turn around and don’t even watch the trolley turn those five people into creamed corn).
Option 2: get vocal
“HEEEEEY SOMEBODY YOU LEFT YOUR KEYS HERE ARE YOU STILL WITHIN EAR SHOT??!!”
Option 3: hide
I could just put the keys inside the letterbox and close the little door. They wouldn’t be locked in, so the rightful owner could still get them back, but they would be less visible, so less likely to be stolen by one of the degenerates walking past. This was a solid option, it allowed me to rule out option 1 and I’d already done number 2.
But uh oh, there was a car key on the key chain (a Saab, no less!), and we had numbered spots, so it would be dead simple to walk down and drive away in this person’s car. A walk in the car park, if you will.
Not only did my building contain low quality humans, but these humans had even lower quality friends who would not blink twice at such an option. I was not comfortable with this even if it wasn’t very likely that someone would poke their snout in a letter box with the door left slightly ajar.
Option 4: seek
I knew the apartment number of the key owners, since it was conveniently written on the letter box door that the keys were dangling out of. So why not go up to their apartment and hand them over. The person who left the keys in the mailbox must have been on their way out since otherwise they would have already been missing their keys. But perhaps they had a life partner of some sort still at home.
So I headed up to their floor and knocked on the door.
OK, so I still have option 3 as my backup. But I’ve got nowhere to be for the rest of the day, and by this point I’m quite emotionally engaged in this whole kerfuffle, so I return to my apartment, ready to try again in 10 minutes.
I head home. Take my shoes off, do a sudoku.
7 minutes later, I return the the key-loser’s apartment and once again rap my bony knuckles upon their door. Nothing.
I have lost interest in this shit.
Option 5: slide them under the door
I had realised in the last 7 minutes that, in the wrong hands, a set of keys could also quite readily be copied at the locksmith just up the road. An entrepreneurial ruffian that found these keys in a numbered letterbox could quite easily proceed to empty out this person’s apartment whenever they felt the time was right.
I decided that leaving the keys for someone else to take was out of the question, such was my lack of faith in the humanity within screaming distance of me.
So I scratched option 3 from my list
OK… think, Alex, think.
I slapped myself first on the right cheek, then on the left. The second one hurt considerably more since my left hand contained the keys.
Here’s what it felt like:
At this point I’m thinkin’, if this person lives alone, then it’s likely that this is the only set of keys and if I slide them under the door, they’d be quite screwed. But if they were part of a couple, then they would have someone else to call, and sliding them under the door would not be such a big deal.
But how can I tell if they’re part of a couple or not? If only I could take a tiny peak inside their apartment, there would probably be some clues. If only I had the keys…
I quietly slid their front door key into the lock, twisted, and creaked the door open just a tiny bit.
Just kidding, I opened it noisily and walked right in.
On the side table next to the couch:
Alrighty, at least one chick lives here.
I poked my head into one of the bedrooms…
Aw yeah we have a couple!
I plonked the keys into one of the 47 jars with candles in them and got the hell out of there.
I still have no idea how this went down for the couple and I wish I was a fly on the wall when the keys were found in the candle-jar and I wonder if the key-owner still thinks about it to this day. My dream is that I made at least one of them doubt the nature of reality, and if I brought about the end of their relationship then I am glad.
(This is almost all true. In reality I just walked in and left the keys on their coffee table, not bothering to check for signs of a couple.)
Bonus: the making of “Keys: found”
The internet is amazing, I googled for what I wanted and the internet was like “sure, here’s some things that reflect what it’s like to be slapped with a Saab key”.
And to think, this image search technology wasn’t even available at the time I slapped myself with the Saab key.