Saturday, September 24, 2011

...I locked my keys in the car

I’m very very very paranoid about locking my keys in the car. I’m always double checking to make sure I have my keys in my hand before leaving my car. I check them and double check to make sure I have them.

Except this one time.

It happened when I was working as a houseparent at a boarding school in Pakistan. I worked there from February 2000 to July 2002 (back in Canada between September 2001 and February 2002).

I took a group of my high school girls to Islamabad for a music festival and competition one year. We were a small group (3 girls plus me) so I drove us in the car the school kept for staff use, a Suzuki Khyber. I’m pretty sure it’s not used anywhere outside of Pakistan. It was 4 doors plus hatchback. I think the North American model was called the Swift. It was one sweet ride, let me tell you.

We were staying at the home of friends in Islamabad. They ran a guest house and frequently hosted staff from our school for getaways and retreats, having been former staff members themselves. I loved visiting their house. It was beautiful and calm. It was always such a respite from my sometimes stressful job. I’m getting off track here now but I really did love that house.

So anyway, I had the three girls with me and one night we went to Jinnah Market for supper. I parked and set the keys down for a minute to look for something. This is important for later in the story. Or, actually it’s important for right now.

I got out, locked the door and closed it. As it was clicking shut I realized the keys were on the seat and had that “Oh no!” moment. I frantically grabbed at the door handle, hoping I could catch it before it locked, even though I had heard the click.

Then I thought “The girls never remember to lock their doors! We’re okay!” So I asked the girls “Did any of you not remember to lock your doors?” They proudly said that they had remembered! Isn’t that great?

Then I thought “Maybe the hatch wasn’t locked!” but no it was locked.

So there we were in the parking lot of the restaurant, an hour and a half drive from the school (where the spare key was). I didn’t know my friends’ phone number to call them for help (I know, right?! Smart). I figured we could get a taxi back to their house, but we didn’t know the street name (Look, it was ISLAMABAD. No one knew the street names. We could have figured it out. Eventually. I knew how to get there after all).

Anyway, there we were in the parking lot, retrying all the doors, hoping maybe someone left a window open (nope) not sure what to do. Suddenly a car pulled up and one of the girls said “Hey! It’s my mom & dad!” They had come to watch her perform the next day and got to Islamabad just that evening. They had come to Jinnah Market to get supper and ended up choosing the same restaurant we did.

We explained what happened and all had a laugh about it. Her dad tried all the doors again, checked the hatch and the windows. Nothing. He volunteered to go to a gas station to see if someone could help us get into the car. It was nice to have them there. If nothing else at least her parents would be able to help us get to our friends house.

So now it was me, the girls, one girl’s mom and a growing crowd of street kids. They were trying to sell us various things or offer to dance for us. One of the boys was selling roses and kept trying to get me to buy one. I was trying to decline and he was shoving them in my face so I finally told him they make me sneeze. He didn’t know what I meant so I pretended to sneeze. This was apparently the funniest thing these kids had ever seen. One of the street kids started singing and another offered to pray to Allah to open the doors for me (for a fee of course). Our little group was turning into quite a party in the parking lot.

Just at that point, another vehicle pulled into the lot. By this point in the event none of us were terribly surprised to see the parents of one of the other girls. The more the merrier!

We explained the situation, we all laughed, they tried the doors (it’s compulsive. you can’t not try the doors even when you know they’re locked). We were discussing just going for supper when the 2nd dad jokingly put his key into the lock on the door of our car. None of us expected it to fit the lock, it was a totally different make of car! We laughed because, of course, Pakistan. Then, to all of our amazement, he turned the key and the lock popped open!!

What are the odds? (I’m terrible at math so if you want to figure them out, have at it and please let me know).

I’m even more paranoid about locking the keys in my car now, in case that wasn’t obvious. I have a remote lock key fob thing now so I’m not as worried about it, but I still do double check every time I get out.

Oh, and the girls did great at the music competition and we made it home in one piece.

1 comment:

Jason Damon said...

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