The problem with locking your keys and cell phone inside your car in the cell phone age is that once you locate a phone, you quickly realize that the only numbers you have actually memorized are those of your childhood best friends. (Thanks a lot for not picking up, Noemi. Some help you are in Chicago).

Luckily, I was able to correctly recall Doug’s number after a few tries/racking up a semi-significant long-distance bill on the gas station’s phone. Then I called AAA. When they asked for the name of the gas station, I felt embarrassed/giggly to have to tell them I was at the “Kum & Go.” (I couldn’t get over the name of this chain for months after I moved here—Doug says it wrongfully promotes one-night-stands—but now I’m finally over it and it doesn’t phase me, until today, when I had to spell out “Kum” for the lady on the phone, K-U-M).


Totally impressed with the device used to open locked cars. The guy just wedged in a miniature snow shovel of sorts, pumped some air, then reached in with a long thin hook to unlock it on the inside. It took less than five seconds. I don’t think I could have his job. I would be way too tempted to break into every car I saw. I wonder if he had to sign some kind of form promising not to do that.

The last time I had a lost key issue was in 2008 when Doug’s ex-girlfriend (accidentally) dropped my car key deep into the depths of a cave in Kentucky. Luckily, I was smarter back then and had a spare key magnetized to the bottom of my car. Unluckily, I dropped that spare key beneath the floor-boards of our campground shower later that night.

True story. Below is a summary of that weekend that I wrote four years ago, if you’re interested.

In retrospect, the words “Southern Kentucky” probably should have been the first red flag.

The event was called Karst-o-Rama, and for one weekend every year people come to camp out at this campsite for the nights and spend the days going through the caves (although judging by the proportions of most of these people, I think most of them skip the caves).

Anyway, everyone at this campsite was a strange hippy/hillbilly hybrid that I never knew existed. Almost everyone was middle-aged, and everyone was smoking pot all the time. On the first night, the main event was “noodle wrestling.” I’m not talking about pool toy noodles. I’m talking Ramen noodles. It was the strangest thing I’ve seen in my life, and I’ve seen a few strange things. Everyone took this very seriously. There was a big tub of noodles, and everyone would gather around and there was an official ref, and two people at a time would just wrestle each other in the noodles. A man old enough to be my grandpa started bragging to me about how his 10-year old son beat up a 6-year-old in the noodle pit.

On the second night, 3 old men trying to relive their youth played in a band while
everyone got wasted at the free bar (some people were drinking moonshine) and danced. The theme of this party was “cavemen and cavewomen,” so all the middle-aged people were dressed accordingly, which means that several 70-year-old men were wearing nothing but a loin cloth.

Despite the bizarre atmosphere, going through the caves was a lot of fun. We spent about 6 hours in one cave on Friday, and 6 hours in another on Saturday.

I was one of the people who had driven, and I didn’t know what to do with my keys while we were in the cave. One of the girls in our group was bringing in a fanny pack for her digital camera so she offered to put my keys in there. To make a long story short, she ended up dropping her fanny pack down a narrow hole that plummeted into a 30-foot abyss.

Luckily, I remembered that many years ago my mom had hidden a spare key in a magnetic box underneath my car. So while most of our group stayed in the cave to try to find a passageway to the bottom of that hole to retrieve the pack, I drove a few of us back to the camp.

Back at the camp, I went to take a shower. I had my spare key in my pants pocket. When I took off my pants, the key fell out of my pocket and beneath the floor boards of the shower. Because that is exactly the kind of life that I live.

I could see it but I couldn’t reach it. Someone was showering next to me and I could see their shower water rushing toward my key about to wash it away. The only thing I could find to try to reach it were some used Q-tips on the floor. Those didn’t work. And that was really gross.

I started to freak out, and I went outside to tell my friends what had happened even
though they were all guys so they couldn’t come into the womens’ showers to help me. All I wanted was some moral support. All of our stuff was locked in my car, and we were miles away from cell phone reception, and I was convinced we would never make it out of southern Kentucky, and all kinds of scenarios were running through my head. Doug was not very comforting. The only thing he could think of to say was “WHY WOULD YOU BRING YOUR SPARE KEY INTO THE SHOWER WHEN YOUR OTHER ONE IS DEEP WITHIN THE EARTH?!”

Eventually I ended up fishing it out with a twig, and our other friends eventually even retrieved the pack by using ropes and a hook (but not before a search party was sent out for them after they had not returned for several hours). We became famous around the campsite among the 60-year-old stoners, who all kept coming up to us to ask if we had retrieved the pack and if our friends were safe. I’m convinced we will be a legend at that campsite for years to come.

Also, later that night everyone in our group but me ended up going swimming naked with a bunch of old men. But that story is for another day, my friends.