It was perfectly fine morning to be locked out of the house

Early Monday morning was a perfect time to sit outside: The air was fresh following an overnight rain, the rising sun turned the remnant clouds into scudding patches of orange and gold; an energetic wren flitted from the magnolia tree to the rain gutter, seeking bits and pieces of leaf and stem to construct a late-season nest; a gentle breeze rustled the leaves of the magnolia; and trapping the early rays of the emerging sun was an intricately-spun spider web that covered an evergreen shrub with a delicate, silvery, filigreed doily.

I sat and absorbed the wonder, the serenity, the tranquility of the morning … as I waited less than patiently for a locksmith to come and let me into my house.

The morning had started, as most of my mornings do, with a brisk 30-minute walk around the neighborhood — a recent recommendation by the knee surgeon to strengthen my repaired meniscus. As I left the house I grabbed my keys, locked the door, donned my cap, picked up my walking stick, and pounded the pavement, following my usual route, greeting fellow walkers, watching construction workers gather at the new home building sites, and then making my way back to my door — where I discovered that my house key was not on my keychain.

When my daughter and I swapped vehicles the day before, I removed the house key and stuck it in my pocket, where it remained on Monday morning. Unfortunately, that pocket was not in the walking pants I was wearing.

Oh, did I mention that Pat had left the previous morning to visit her mother in Florida? And the cat does not open doors.

I tried the door, hoping I had forgotten to lock it. I had not forgotten. I tried the other doors — also locked. I checked the windows. We are very good about locking things.

I found an old, used-up plastic bookstore gift card in my truck and attempted to jimmy the lock with it. I’ve found success with this technique on other locks, and after all, it has worked in countless movies and TV shows. But not this time.

I tried to pick the lock with a paper clip. I would fail burglar school.

I called my daughter. “Stacey, do you have a key to my house?”

“No. Did you lock yourself out?”

“Yep. Guess I’ll call a locksmith.”

“Sorry.”

I always carry my cellphone on my morning walks in case I fall, get lost, or see something photo-worthy. I googled “locksmiths” and found one that opens for business at 9 a.m. Too late — I had an appointment shortly after 10.

On down Google’s roster: Asheville was too far away. Ah, here’s one with 24-hour service (which translates: “We will come get you in, but it’s gonna cost you an arm and a leg.”

But they were prompt, and more reasonable than I had reason to expect.

Lesson learned: I will hereafter make sure my daughter has a key to our house. I may hide a key somewhere in the garage — and probably promptly forget where I hid it. I will also look closely at my keychain before leaving the house.

I knew Pat would offer words of sympathy for my misfortune, so I texted her some of the more pertinent details. Her response: “You are such a doofus.”

Still, it was a perfectly fine morning for sitting outside…

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