If our visits to Indiana were limited to visiting with family members, these annual (semi-annual?) excursions might feel a bit more manageable. But instead there are friends we want to see. And our car-van inevitably requires some sort of maintenance. And the professor invariably tries to squeeze in some meetings with (former) colleagues.
Which is how we ended up with a Friday when the car had to be at the mechanic for brake repair. And the professor had a mid-morning meeting in Muncie and an afternoon meeting in Indianapolis. While I had a lunch date, an afternoon pool date and a late-afternoon coffee date on the calendar.
The professor borrowed my mom’s car to drive the hour to his Indianapolis meeting. And I crossed my fingers that Earl the mechanic would have the van’s brakes finished in time for me to see my friends.
Earl delivered. Before the professor’s morning meeting had ended, the mechanic called to let me know that the van was ready to be picked up. Minutes after we returned to my mom’s house with the now-fixed van, my lunch dates arrived to pick me up. I ran out the door, calling farewell to the professor who was inhaling a sandwich before heading out.
When I returned home nearly two hours later, I quickly helped the boys change into their swim trunks before heading for the car. But my car keys were nowhere to be found. Panicked because I was already late, I searched all the conspicuous places: my purse, the top of the piano, the swim bag. Nothing. I was sure I hadn’t taken the keys with me to the restaurant, but these days my glasses could fall off my face and I wouldn’t even know it, so I called my lunch date. ‘Did I leave my keys in your van?’ ‘I don’t see them,’ she confirmed what I’d suspected. Another panicked search of the house yielded nothing. So I called the restaurant where I’d had lunch. No, the hostess informed me, they hadn’t found any keys.
Aside from the very real possibility that I’d completely lost my mind, only one plausible explanation remained: the professor had taken the van keys with him to Indianapolis. Which, if true, would mean I had an un-driveable van with new brakes sitting in my driveway.
Because the professor was driving without a cell phone, I had the slightly humiliating task of phoning the colleague with whom he was meeting. And leaving a message on his voicemail: ‘Hi Wil, this is Nicola…..Jason’s…wife? I was just wondering if he has our car keys. Could you have him call me?’
And because I didn’t have my friend’s cell phone number, I was forced to send her a Facebook message: ‘I’m so, so sorry, but I can’t find my car keys anywhere.’ I didn’t figure she was sitting by the pool checking Facebook, but I wanted her to know I hadn’t stood her up. Even if she’d only find out belatedly.
Several minutes passed with nary a phone call from the professor. I resorted to sending a similarly-worded follow up text message.
The phone rang minutes later. ‘Hello,’ my better half greeted me in a guilty-sounding-voice. ‘Do you have the keys,’ I cut to the chase. ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Okay, well I guess I’ll talk to you later,’ and I hung up the phone.
I sauntered back to the computer to send another note to my jilted pool date. ‘I’m so sorry about this, apparently Jason took my keys to Indianapolis. Any chance he could sleep on your couch tonight?’