Nethken: It was the book’s fault; reintroducing Been There, Done That

Editor’s note: Some of you may remember Laura Nethken’s column that ran regularly in the Record-Courier. Laura will now be resuming her column, Been There, Done That, on the first Monday of every month in The Portager. We’re excited to be publishing these slices of Portage County life for readers once again, with no paywall.

I blame the book I’m currently involved with for me getting locked out of the car at work the other day. I realize “the other day” for me can be anywhere from yesterday back to 1986, but this was literally the other day.

In order to keep myself from going insane on my half-hour drive to and from work each day, I listen to my book through the library’s app on my phone.

I was never a fan of listening to a book. I wanted the actual book in my hand and I’ll read it for myself, thank you. That had worked for me for a very long time— until it didn’t.

The next book in the series I was reading was only available in audio form. I didn’t want to jump around in the series, so I gave in. And since then, I’ve learned that it’s quite nice to be able to do something else (like drive) and still get in a little reading time.

I usually arrive at work with a few minutes to spare, so I wait until I get to a good stopping point to “close” the book. The book doesn’t require the car to be running, so I shut it off and toss my keys in my purse in the passenger seat.

I don’t even attempt to drag my purse out the door with me. Did that once and it got caught on the window button, and we ended up having to replace the window. I’ll just go around and get it.

And all days but one, I remembered not to hit the door lock when I got out. I knew what I had done the minute I heard the door shut.

OMG, I locked the car, now what? It’s got one of those keypads on the door, but we never figured out how to get the combination.

I’ve heard that you can use your spare key fob at another location to unlock the door through a phone. We don’t have a spare key fob. We have a spare key. It will unlock the door, but only manually.

I’d have to ask our next-door-neighbor and friend to drive Dave and the key over here just to unlock the door. And admit what I had done. Nah, not just yet. There’s got to be another way.

And there was. I had opened the sunroof before I shut the car off because it was supposed to be sunny and 75 that day. I didn’t want my jitney blowing up into an F-350 being all closed up in the hot sun.

Now all I had to do was figure out how to get in the sunroof. I’m not as young as I used to be and I was never all that coordinated to start with. But with limited options, I formulated a plan.

Standing on the curb, I was able to easily crawl onto the hood. I made my way to the windshield and contemplated whether it would hold my weight. We did just have a chip fixed. Would that weakened area make it crack and shatter? If it did, would I land in the car or just lay there on the glass like a bug?

As these thoughts ran through my head, I eased my way up and leaned my belly against the glass. Then I reached in through the open sunroof and plucked my keys off the top of my purse.

I gingerly made my way back to the sidewalk and glanced around to see who all had witnessed this mess. Nobody. Literally no one was out and about. I did it and no one needs to be the wiser.

Except when I went to leave that afternoon, the anti-theft light on the dash was on. I had to call our mechanic to see what to do about that. And our mechanic just so happens to be the same neighbor and friend I thought about calling to bring Dave and the key.

I could fault him for ratting me out, but nope, I blame the book for the entire fiasco. Had I not been so distracted about waiting for that perfect stopping point, I would never have locked the door as I got out. It’s all the book’s fault. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Laura Nethken
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