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It's another mini adventure in idiocy - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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December 1st, 2004

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11:14 am - It's another mini adventure in idiocy
You may well have seen this already, but...

Last night, Dad went 60 miles up to Hexham to see his brother, his sister (who had flown in from the US) and their spouses. He stayed with them overnight. Accordingly, I went out to see Mum alone in the evening. Upon returning from going out to see Mum, I discovered that I had locked myself out. That's twice in two months, for those who are keeping count.

Oh dear. Walk to a public phone box, ring Directory Enquiries for said uncle's phone number. Using the 118 service advertised on the phone box, at 50p/minute, 30p proves insufficient, so in goes another pound. Tell Dad, who curses me appropriately. "Why do you only ever get locked out when I'm not there?" Because you're not there, Dad, obviously. I also forgot to take my key with me on the first day of work, but since you were in the house, you were able to let me in, thus averting the disaster. When we had the new lock installed, we had three keys made. Dad has one; the second is on my keyring, either lost somewhere or presumably left inside the house; the third is stored for safe keeping in a drawer upstairs. We are going to have to get a fake rock, but knowing us, we'll not be able to decide where to put it outside, and leave it inside along with this spare key.

Happily, crucially and slightly unusually, I have brought my wallet with me. Ring the exceptionally helpful and tremendously kind zorac, who lets dezzikitty know about my situation and stops her worrying about my extended absence. He also looks up a train time and discovers that I cannot get to town in time to catch the last train to Hexham and stay with the rest of the family, catch a lift back home with Dad the next day and so forth.

Have supper out, instead of eating what was in the house. Call at a friend's parents' house, but no response. They may have gone to bed (at about 9:30pm) so I decide not to press the issue. Reassess whether I am sufficiently friendly with any other local friends to throw myself and my incompetence upon their mercy and conclude not. (Note to self: make more local friends.) Go back to the nursing home and prepare to spend a night asleep on the spare chair in Mum's room - but I am tremendously fortunate and they are happy to help by giving me one of their unused rooms for the night. Have a not-very-good night's sleep - lots of dreams, a fair bit of waking, not much deep sleep. Dad will come and collect me from the nursing home when he returns from Hexham today.

If the nursing home had not unreasonably said no, then I would have trawled the B&Bs of the town - or, possibly, taken a bus 12 miles down the road to a seaside town where there are more B&Bs and lower prices. So, all told, far from homelessness, mostly because I am tremendously fortunate to be carrying a wallet with enough money to allay my fears in, but certainly slight worry. I have decamped to a local library with Internet access, and will keep reading the newspapers, before sloping back off to see Mum again. But, even so, I rushed out of Mum's room when the staff came to turn her from one position to another, and have left my scarf and gloves there... :-(
Current Mood: embarrassedidiotic

(14 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:December 1st, 2004 04:06 am (UTC)
Date:December 1st, 2004 04:46 am (UTC)

Thinking practically, you could get another housekey cut and keep it permanently in one of:

* your work locker
* your wallet (not on a ring, obviously)
* your Mum's room at the nursing home
* some other place of your choosing that's permanently accessible to you but not to random rock-checkers.
Date:December 1st, 2004 06:39 am (UTC)
OK, maybe not your wallet if you're not in the habit of carrying it (and you *really* should be, you know!). Principle still works though.
[User Picture]
Date:December 1st, 2004 04:47 am (UTC)
This is why, you (a) learn the telephone numbers you'd want to call in a crisis and (b) stop relying on other people being there to help you out. You are *never* allowed to leave the house without your keys or your wallet. Nope, I don't care if you're going to the corner shop and your Dad's in, you've got to break yourself of the habit of expecting someone to be in/someone else to have a key/that you're not going to need some cash. You might like a nice big nanny state that would come and rescue us every time we did something a bit silly (I have visions of the police station holding spare sets of keys for everyone in jiggery_pokery world), but life isn't like that. You've got to look out for and protect yourself. </lecture>

Am glad the nursing home let you stay though and that you've found a nice warm library to entertain yourself in.
Date:December 1st, 2004 05:59 am (UTC)
This writer is absolutely correct, Chris, but you know that. What you don't know is how lucky I am that such things haven't happened to me, at least not more often. (I am prone to leaving the house without my cellphone, however.)

Note to karen2205: why is your userpic a picture of the rug in my hallway?
[User Picture]
Date:December 1st, 2004 07:36 am (UTC)
Cell/mobile phones != essential equipment, or at least if you're going to carry one you have to remember that it needs to be charged/have credit/have signal. You also need cash in case you need to use a pay phone and to know at least some of the telephone numbers you'd want to call.

It's not - it's a picture of a bit of the rainforest kit my mother supplies.

Being made from batiks makes it far too delicate to go on the floor:-)

And Chris, I'm sorry, I realise what I've written sounds harsh - there's nothing wrong with you - you've just made a mistake; we all make mistakes and all we can do with them is learn from them. (and look who is talking, given that I lost my work pass on Monday...) I just grew up with a front door key and a need to use it from when I was about seven or so onwards. If I'd forgotten it (as I did once), I'd have been stuck outside for about an hour. Longer when I was older. I also grew up with the attitude that it's not OK for me to get other people to buy me things (it's OK if they offer, but I should always have enough money if they refuse).
[User Picture]
Date:December 1st, 2004 07:41 am (UTC)
Lets try that link again http://www.villagefabrics.co.uk/kitsrainforest (you'd think I'd remember how I'd named the pictures on a website I write really:-p))
Date:December 1st, 2004 07:44 am (UTC)
Much better that way. And in full, it doesn't so much look like the rug as remind me of it. Though if I were climbing the walls--as work may have me doing soon--it would be nice to have something so pretty to lean against. :)
[User Picture]
Date:December 1st, 2004 06:44 am (UTC)
What Karen said. :D

But I've told you that already, Chris - you've just got to actually *apply* the things you know to the things you do. You're damned lucky that you had somewhere to stay last night - but it shouldn't have had to come to this. Make an extra key and keep it in your mum's room for emergencies - but you *cannot* let that stop you from being responsible for yourself and your property. I don't ever leave the house without checking for both keys and wallet - granted, I have my T-pass attached to my keys and my driver's license in my wallet, so it's hard to do so - but that's exactly *why* my T-pass is attached to my keys, so that I won't leave either behind.

If what it takes is a huge neon sign taped to the inside of the door just above the lock that says "Make sure you have your keys, Chris," then do it. You *have* to make this a habit.

My suggestion, though I know you probably won't heed it, is to cut back on the sheer amount of stuff you take with you everywhere. Stop carrying an umbrella on days that aren't even cloudy, stop loading your pockets with things you don't necessarily need. If you've got less crap on your person, you're much more likely to notice when something big is missing.

Finally - I love you. *hugs* I don't really think you're an idiot, but I think you did a stupid thing. You know that already. Stop focusing on what you did and start thinking about what you can do to prevent it from ever happening again.

Date:December 1st, 2004 07:47 am (UTC)
If what it takes is a huge neon sign taped to the inside of the door just above the lock that says "Make sure you have your keys, Chris," then do it.

An actor friend had an affirmation-sign taped to the inside of her front door, as a reminder before she went out into the world. "You are enough," it said.

Upon returning, somewhat embarrassedly, from an audition, she added, "...however, it would be a good idea to take your music with you."
Date:December 1st, 2004 08:27 am (UTC)
If what it takes is a huge neon sign taped to the inside of the door just above the lock that says "Make sure you have your keys, Chris," then do it.

This is not such a daft idea; at work, we've got signs up to remind us to turn off the heater, turn off the lights, and lock the door. And we move the signs at least once a month, so they don't become part of the visual furniture.

Alternatively, or in addition, have a lock you can only lock by inserting a key, as if that's locked, you must have had your keys with you when leaving the house.

Stop carrying an umbrella on days that aren't even cloudy, stop loading your pockets with things you don't necessarily need.

Ask yourself: What are you certain to need to-day? Gloves, scarf, presumably wallet, certainly house keys. Then pack these things together. Keys, on top of gloves.
Date:December 1st, 2004 08:46 am (UTC)
>stop loading your pockets with things you
>don't necessarily need. If you've got less
>crap on your person, you're much more likely
>to notice when something big is missing.

That is a top tip. I've only managed one lock out in 7 years mainly because I always keep my wallet and my keys in my trouser pockets. If I'm about the slam the door shut and my trousers feel light, I know I'm missing something. Over time, this becomes second nature.
[User Picture]
Date:December 1st, 2004 05:38 am (UTC)
Time to replace your front door lock with a numeric keypad !
Date:December 1st, 2004 08:41 am (UTC)
Not sure a fake rock is the most secure way - burglars are aware of those things these days.

Why not change the lock to one of those five-lever Yale-style locks that you have to deliberately turn to the closed position when you go out of the door? It's easy to remember to lock the door and it's pretty impossible to lock yourself out. We just replaced ours for £4.

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