Responding Poorly to Emergencies

Today I had finally managed to lock my keys in my car.

While the engine was running.

I was trying to do four things at once. With my attention divided enough, I got out of my car and bumped the door shut. Out of habit, I lock the door after I open it. I do not have automatic locks.

Long story short, I don’t know where my spare keys are. It’s been thirteen years since I got them. I have never needed them until now. So, at the mercy of roadside assistance, I had to wait several hours to get someone out to jimmy the lock.

During that time, my head wasn’t in a good place. It still isn’t in a good place. I thought I was going to have to break a window. I thought I was going to have to get towed. I thought about how I can fuck up managing my car keys.

Embarrassment isn’t even on the immediate list of things I’m kicking my ass about. It’s down a few notches, below the anger at myself for never making spare keys to replace the ones I lost. Sure, everyone locks their keys in their car. But for thirteen years, I hadn’t. The one time I do, it’s in front of an audience.

I got confused and panicky. I wasn’t thinking straight. All I could do was dwell on how publicly fucked I was. Yeah, I want to be mad at roadside assistance for screwing things up. But if I hadn’t fucked up in the first place, none of it would have been necessary.

Hours after getting in my car, after getting home, getting to a safe place, I am still coldly raging at myself. My mind isn’t slowing down. It relives everything, holds onto that feeling of disgust at my ineptitude. And there’s nothing I can do except ride it out.

It bothers me that while I was mentally breaking down inside, I lost my capacity to fully think. All I could do was dwell on what I did wrong and what extremes I had to go to in order to fix it. While I didn’t fully melt down on the outside, I was running myself ragged inside.

Moral of the story? I can look like I’m not panicking while burning myself down to the filter.

8 thoughts on “Responding Poorly to Emergencies

  1. I locked myself out of my car so many times that I carried a car key on my personal key ring and on my work key ring … and I had a plastic one that my local AAA chapter made for that I kept in my wallet.

    I am surprised that I didn’t find a way to lock myself into my car.


  2. Hmm. I am almost paranoid about not having car doors locked while I’m inside the car. If I was ever incapacitated (a severe migraine or car crash for example) I would not want to be locked inside.

    On the other hand, the wife has managed to lock herself out on several occasions, but neither she nor I nor roadside assist have been able to figure out how. Remote locking is impossible unless all doors are fully closed. Manual locking/unlocking affects both inside and outside door handles. If a door is manually locked while it is open, it unlocks when the door closes. Yet she manages to perform this miracle about once every two years (we’ve had our current car for 10 years)


  3. I have locked my keys in my car a million times! Even once when it was running too. I definitely sympathize with you. I felt the same way. It’s gotten to the point where I have to stand anxiously in the open door and stare at my keys in my hand for like a full minute before I can move.


  4. I’m so scared of this scenario because it happened to me once and, yes, it was as embarrassing af. It’s really awful that your brain decided to beat you up over something that has happened to most people at some point.

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  5. I feel I can relate to your thinking process. That panicky situation where you beat yourself over nothing which causes you to be more frustrated and panic more. Telling yourself it’s nothing doesn’t tend to make yourself feel better either.
    You’re lucky you’ve only been locked out once in 13 years haha. I would’ve done it dozens of times except for the fact that my car won’t let me lock myself out.

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