Friday, February 10, 2006

And The Clowns Shall Crown Me Their King…

Have you ever done something really stupid and then spent the next week worrying that somebody noticed? That they’ll spread around the story to everybody? Not me. I do stupid things then spread the story around, making sure that everybody understands the full extent of my stupidity. It’s my way of cutting out the middleman.

So one day last week I sat at work watching the snow fall out the window. When I left for the day the snow was still falling. The wind had picked up and the temperature had fallen. As I approached my car a coworker and I started talking about the weather as he scraped his windshield. I unlocked my car, opened the door and started my car. I stepped back out to scrape off the snow and closed the driver’s side door.

My conversation with my coworker continued as I went to open the back door to get my scraper. It resisted.

“Hey! My stupid back door is frozen shut!”

I put some muscle into it, but the door laughed contemptuously. I gave up and opened the driver’s door.

Or, I should say, I tried. It was frozen shut too.

“This stupid door’s frozen shut too! And it was just open!"

Slowly, it dawned on me. I had just locked my keys in my car. And it was running.

“Hey – I just locked my keys in the car!”

“No!” my coworker said, shocked.

I trudged back inside to figure out what to do. Another coworker was there, and after fruitless calls to the police and fire departments, I decided to call AAA. With them on their way, I decided to keep trying to get it open myself. My coworker decided to stay and chronicle the nonsense for future storytelling.

We got a couple of coathangers and headed back out to my car. I recounted the story again as we walked to my car, but then stopped abruptly. Something was wrong.

“My car’s gone! It was parked right there!”

For just a few seconds I wondered if somebody had stolen my car, but then I thought that the chances of a car thief wandering by and finding my locked, running car, and getting it open were pretty low. Then I wondered if AAA had come already and towed the car accidentally. That made more sense, but still didn’t seem very likely.

We finally got to where my car had been and I saw it. It wasn’t where I had left it. It appeared as though the first coworker had realized that it was in neutral and the parking brake was off and pushed it back. He had pushed it back not just into the parking spot behind it, but into the aisle behind it. I have a couple of coworkers I could see doing this, but this one just wasn’t the type. Then I noticed that there were no footprints.

What had happened? We thought about it and figured it out. The parking brake was off (no good reason) and it was in neutral (it’s a standard). Apparently, there was a tiny incline to the parking lot. Just enough so the car rolled back very slowly.

We stood there laughing and talking about it for about 20 minutes. It was getting pretty cold and we both had commented on it a couple of times. My coworker suddenly looked up. He had thought of something. He told me that we should get into his jeep, which was parked, running, right next to us, with the heat running. We’d stood there for 20 minutes in the cold, snow falling on us, complaining of the cold while a running vehicle (an unlocked one) sat right next to us.

AAA finally arrived, and the guy who unlocked my car amazed me with his skill. It took him less than a minute to get my car open.

As you could well imagine, my little adventure has been told and retold many times this week. A schedule has been drawn up so people know which day they are responsible for escorting me to my car to make sure I don’t lock the keys up again. People I don’t know have come up and asked me if I was the guy who locked his key in his car. I’ve enjoyed it all – it’s a good feeling to have something good to laugh at and people to laugh at it with.

I’m sure I’m in the running for Clown King this year. Make sure you vote for me.