Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Key to Life


I'm feeling very literal today. It's Theme Thursday, and the theme is Key. So I present you with... my keys! Seems kind of obvious, I know, but as I was taking the picture I realized how much this group of metal and plastic is a literal key to my life. For example, ignoring the ridiculous number of plastic membership cards, this is the emptiest my key chain has been since high school. I'm used to having keys to an office building, keys to an office in that building, keys to friends' houses (that I would actually use to go over and hang out - imagine the luxury of that), all in addition to the standards: car and home. Right now I have my car key, my house key, and - just for good measure - a key to my sister's house. It took me a while to get used to an emptier key chain, as if a larger number of keys somehow indicates a more useful life. I prefer to think of these as simpler times.

Two things I love about my keys: First, that the big clunky one says VW. I drive a station wagon that we bought before there was Eli, before we even left California to head east and start this family. I love my wagon. But I especially love that it's a VW because in my single California days I drove old bugs. I had a white '66 - nicknamed Pearl - for a few months that was stolen off the streets of San Francisco. (Boo.) I replaced it with a '65 in seafoam green that needed a ton of work, most of which I did myself, again on the streets of San Francisco. There I was, weekend after weekend, at the intersection of Polk and Filbert, re-upholstering the seats or sanding out the rust or replacing the bumpers. One of my favorite memories of that time is when a woman walked past, said hello, and then came back about 20 minutes later with a 12 year old girl trailing right behind. She said to me, "I brought my niece back because I wanted her to see all the things that women can do." I felt pretty good about that.

And then I drove that freshly painted car - christened Opal - down to LA to start graduate school and wouldn't you know it, three days later someone stole that one. (Sigh.) I replaced it with a UPS brown '67 (obviously not the original color, which was beige). That poor car never got new bumpers, never got a new paint job, never got a name. It just got replaced with something else when I could afford it. I think it was a combination of the thefts breaking my spirit and the LA freeways making me wish for a steadier car. But I will forever hold a special place in my heart for VWs, and my station wagon and its key hints at that a little.

So there you have it. A key to my keys.

10 comments:

Mommee and Her Boys said...

Amazing how many cards we have on our keys, these days, eh? I think i have about that many on my key ring, too.

megan said...

love the story behind the photo! we're thinking of getting a vw passat wagon -- would you recommend?

kim said...

Fun shot. I love all the membership cards! My keyring holds the car key and the keyless entry remote. That's it! I don't even carry a house key. Woe is me the day my garage door opener fails me.

Melody A. said...

You are right. A lot of things hanging on that little ring.

modmom said...

hi!
i have a white new beetle (4 years old). that's terrible about your work getting stolen. i worked on my first old cars too when i was a teenager + one of them was stolen-aaaah. i guess they're easier to get into + don't have alarms.

i DO remember you as karen who won my ipod contest! very clever of you! you had great descriptions. thisnext is having an iphone contest you could probably win. let me know if you want the link or look on thisnext.com

Merrily Rolling said...

Megan, yes I love my Passat wagon. I haven't had any trouble with it at all, except for the fact that it's on its third radio. But I can live with that. I love the new styling, too. (Mine's four years old so it's the older style.)

Kim, you're brave. Our power goes out too often for me to rely on that. There's something appealing about just one key, though.

modmom, I'm jealous of your new beetle. I used to be very judgmental of new beetle owners, being a vintage purist and all, but now I love them and fully plan to have one somewhere down the road. A convertible. In that seafoam green color. (Not that I've given it any thought.)

Mommy's Cherish said...

You are so right....and I realize how important "keys" are everytime I am on a hunt for them because I have misplaced them. urrrrrrrgh!

Arizaphale said...

I'm so glad somebody did a real 'key' shot! Great story too. I used to work on my own cars in the days when you still could. All computers nowadays. I also had several cars stolen although I always got them back. In worse shape. I love the idea of your keys saying things about your life. I don't think we have the 'membership cards on your keyring' thing here or if we do I've not discovered it. Although come to think of it...that's what that funny little card they gave me at Blockbuster must be for........

Cari said...

Hmmm...maybe I should put those little membership cards on my keyring too. :) Instead of searching aimlessly at a moment when Luna and Foo have had it with Mom shopping.

I enjoyed your photo and your story on KEY.

Anna said...

I loved your story, and I am a fellow VW owner, too. Once a VW dasher (remember those?) then a Jetta for eleven years, then now onto the Passat wagon. I'm faithful!