Thu 13 Oct 05

I gave a crazy guy a ride in my car this evening on my way home from the gym. Either crazy or a little slow up top, as they say. It wasn’t entirely on purpose. He flagged my down as I was waiting at a stoplight and, after I turned down my music, asked if he could get a ride to the D&W about a mile down the road and I said, “Sure, hop in.” Probably more to avoid holding up traffic or to avoid peeling out in the guy’s face than anything else. He spent the ride mumbling to himself and seemed pretty stressed out trying to give me the right directions to the store, even though I assured him I knew where it was.

When we stopped he asked me for change to ride the bus, but I told him sorry, I just cleaned out my car. I probably could have given him a buck, but I didn’t think of it in the moment. He thanked me anyway and wandered into the store.

So, why don’t I have any change in my car? Well, because the 1994 Mazda 323 has a poorly designed rear hatch of course. First, there is no handle, so you have to use a key to open the back, twisting the key and lifting the door with your other hand at the same time. Second, when the key is inserted properly and turned inside the lock, the key is stressed at its bizarrely thinnest (and therefore weakest) point. This is especially super fun in the winter when the lock is stubbornly frozen. The conclusion then is that after eleven years of key turning things begin to break. Like keys.

Actually I’ve been going through keys for the past couple of years. The problem recently though I guess is that the last key copy didn’t come out perfectly matching and doesn’t open the side car doors. And this past weekend the original master key spiralled like a piece of macroroni when I tried to force it after coming out of Meijer with a cart-load of groceries. So I’m left now with a key that only works the ignition and not my doors.

So, that’s why I don’t keep change in my car anymore. I’m trying to make the transition to being one of those people who doesn’t lock their car doors. And I’m reducing the stress of that choice my removing anything of value everytime I park. Burglars beware, all you’re getting from my sweet ride are some smelly gym shoes, a couple taillight light bulbs, or maybe a few burned cds if you’re lucky.

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