Originally posted May 16, 2010...
When people go through lousy times, like if they get dumped or their ferret is stolen, someone invariably says, “Well, remember: When God closes a door, he opens a window.” I will never understand that expression. I know it’s to mean something like, “From this crisis comes a new opportunity” but on the face of it, I just picture God locking you out of your house and laughing at you from an open window.
I’ve forgotten my keys and been locked out of my house only once that I can remember, back at my folks place. I came home and realized fearfully that I had left my keys on my dresser in my bedroom, inside the vacant house I was trying to enter. I knocked several times and rang the doorbell so much that the dog who was originally barking like crazy was now just staring at me through the window like, “That’s really annoying. I’d help if I could, but come on. I’m trying to lie in this sun spot and you’re just… I don’t even know what.” So I gave up and walked to my Grandma’s house down the street where she gave me Dr. Pepper and pie until my mom came home to dry my tears and let me in. That must be five years ago now.
Anyway, it struck me then as it does now how I only had one key to keep track of and I couldn’t even do that. And also how pathetic it is to be in possession of a single key. I had a key chain, but really, is one key worth a little plastic thing that has “Bitch” written on it? I’m not sure. Now I have about three keys, for the front door of my apartment, the door of our suite, and one to a laundry room that’s always propped open with a brick. The laundry room is in a building across the street and services several apartments so I figure the landlord was busy making all these keys and suddenly thought, “To hell with it, get me a brick.” Jon, by contrast, has a thousand keys. So many that he can’t fit them in his pocket so he puts it all in his little satchel thing which he says is unisex, but it’s only unisex if uni is a Latin prefix meaning “girl purse.” He has keys to our apartment in Toronto, the room he rents during the school year, his office at the University, several classrooms, his car, this list goes on. This leads me to believe that the measure of a man is the number of keys in his purse. Which brings me to today’s Dream.
Dream: To have a bunch of fully functioning keys.
Goal: Achievable. With great success comes many keys, so if I keep working towards success, keys will follow.
Plan: Get more keys, by the following means.
1) Learn to drive, get a car. Nope. Can’t do it. Improperly drive a car and you can kill others and yourself in a matter of seconds. Seconds! That humans can master the level of concentration needed to drive, coupled with the knowledge that one wrong move could take many lives astounds me. I can’t even change a song on my ipod and walk at the same time, it’s a full stop, squint and mutter operation.
2) Own a second home. That would be pretty amazing, if not a little extravagant. Jon technically has two homes, as he rents a room during the year while he’s teaching, but it’s not really a second home. I went up to visit once and while the house was nice, his little room was the most depressing place you ever saw. Just a bed and a closet. He claims he needs the place to serve exactly that function, store his clothes and let him sleep. The rest of the time he’s at his office or meetings or off doing smart guy stuff. “Dress it up!” I encouraged. “Get a plant! Put some posters on the walls.” His response was, “I don’t look at the walls.” I let the matter drop, but that really stuck with me. Doesn’t look at the walls, come on! I should have drawn a penis on the wall or something, just to see if he really didn’t look at them. Anyway, I could own a second home some day. I think I’d be tempted to only eat in one house and do serious bathroom business in the other. So then one house would always smell like delicious food and the other one of, well… bathroom stuff. So then people could come to one house and go, “Yum! What did you have for dinner?” And people would go to the other house and go, “Christ, what did you have for dinner?!”
3) Get a safety deposit box. In movies and tv, a powerful character will sometimes have a scene where he visits a bank or whatever and puts something into or takes something out of a safety deposit box. It’s usually an obvious plot-forwarding device like a treasure map or a gun. I don’t think I own anything now that I’d store in a facility for safe keeping. My parents sent me a gift card for Esso last Christmas, which was a kind gesture, but since I don’t drive or live near an Esso, sort of Alzheimer-y on their part. But the card is untouched, with twenty five bucks on it, so maybe I’d put that in the safety deposit box until I needed it. Or one of those mega tubes of toothpaste. Like a really large one. We’re really stingy with toothpaste in our house, using the very last drops of it and then buying the cheapest, most on sale-iest store brand crappastes because Colgate Total Actually Good seems really expensive next to unflavored Crest from the Phillipines.
4) A Universal Washroom Key. It really chaps my ass how the nastiest places require keys to access their washrooms. At the Burger King by where I work, you have to ask the emo teen behind the counter to please, please get you the key, if he’s not busy texting his friend. This is such an insulting proposition. They say they don’t one just anyone coming in off the street just to use the washroom, but for Chrissakes, it’s Burger King! You have more transients than a homeless shelter. Drug addicts come to you when they run out of crazy shit to do. It’s not like those washrooms are immaculate, it’s no privilege to use them. You don’t go into them for a lark. You don’t say, “You know it’s such a lovely night. What’s say we get the kids and head over to the BK bathroom; it should still smell freshly of puke from the dinner hour.” You go to a Burger King bathroom only when the choice is doing that, or pissing yourself. A key! Just rude.
It’s sort of ironic that my Grandma was my rescue that day when I forgot the keys to my parents house, because toward the end of her life, she herself had no use for keys. It hurt her arthritic fingers to turn them all the time, and she hated getting up, walking all the way to the front of the house, and opening the heavy door, just to let somebody in. “So just come on in!” she’d say. “What do I have that anyone’s going to steal? If someone’s desperate enough to break into this house, well! They can just have it!” Which wasn’t true, of course. She had lots of nice things; old pictures and knick knacks and Grandma stuff that took a lifetime to accumulate, in her smoky house with the windows shut and shades drawn. It used to make me sad, to think she had lived such a life but didn’t have any keys to show for it. But now I realize the optimism in allowing people to “just come on in!” and what a triumph it must have been to be trustful and welcoming with an open door and open heart, even at her age. After she died, her house down the street from my parents went up for sale. It was just sold, and I would bet that door is finally closed. And that someone opened all the fucking windows.