All Keyed Up

This kind of thing could only happen to me. (In a way, that’s good, because if things like this happened to you, you’d have your own humor column.)

The other day as I got into my car and pressed the button to start the engine, my dependable sedan fired up as usual. But wait: my key fob was not hanging on its little knob where I always put it. I remembered that I had left it on the kitchen table.

Perplexed, I went inside and sure enough, there it was. Huh? How could my car start without the fob? It was way out of its range. This scared me. It meant anyone could get in my car and drive off.

My friend knows a lot about cars and I was on my way to visit him, anyway. “Bob, my car started this morning but it wasn’t supposed to.”

“Were you out of gas?”

“No, my car is not supposed to start without the fob inside.”

“Your fob was not inside?”

“Yes, it was inside—inside the house.”

Bob was no help. He reminded me that a month ago I drove around with my cell phone on the hood of the car, so this didn’t surprise him. He suggested I go to the dealership.

I headed over and saw my friend Kevin, one of the service advisors. “Kevin, you have great technicians, right?”

“Only the best, Dick. What’s wrong?”

“My problem is that my car started.”

“Hmmm. I’ve been in this business 25 years and that’s the oddest complaint I have ever heard.”

After I explained my quandary, Kevin asked where my spare fob was and I told him that it had been missing for several weeks. “Bingo. Then it must be somewhere in your car,” he said, suppressing a smile. “Go home and look for it. I have people here with serious power train issues. I can’t help you right now.”

Back in my driveway, I looked for it in every possible space, under the seats, between the seats, under the floor mats. The problem was the fob is black, the seats are black and the carpet is black. Looking for it in the daylight was not working, so I decided to wait until it was dark out and use a flashlight. Mary Ellen came out around 9 p.m. and found me on my knees searching the car. I explained what happened.

“Do you want me to call it?” she asked.

“Jeesh, it’s a fob Mary Ellen, not a cell phone.”

I finally found the rascal, lodged on the track that the seat slides back and forth on. I put the extra key in a safe place and I felt relieved.

By the way, I am not the only one in my family who loses things. The next evening, Mary Ellen told me she wanted to prepare a holiday dessert ahead of time and couldn’t find our electric mixer that we keep in the basement.

I told her not to worry, that I’d give it a call first thing in the morning.

Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at [email protected]