Thursday, August 30, 2007

Forgotten Car Roof Items & the Cycle of Luck

When I was 14 years old I had my first boom box, earned with what was then the boyhood rite of mowing lawns in the neighborhood. They weren't cheap when the first came out. My friend placed it on top of his grandfather's Plymouth Barracuda, with an on-dash push button shifter, as we were packing up for home from a fishing trip. After seeing and hearing several other motorists pointing and waving at us and yelling things we couldn't make out, we finally stopped and got out. We were amazed to see my treasured Toshiba boom box still sitting up there several blocks later. If you recall the design on the early boom boxes was much more upright and flat than the more recent lower profile design, so it was remarkably impressive that it stayed upright on the ride. It probably helped that my friend's grandfather was no speed demon, despite the hi-tech push button shifting. My luck with forgotten items on the roof has grown increasingly worse over the years. Maybe 15 years ago, I left a Nissan stainless thermos cup on the roof, which functioned amazingly like one of those twirling lawn sprinklers as it tumbled off my Toyota pickup. Despite the impressive random coffee streaks on my truck and the parking lot my thermos cup thankfully only suffered cosmetic dents.

Last night my wife and I were taking our 7-year-old daughter and her friend out to dinner. While my wife was getting the booster seats situated, she placed her keys on top of the car. When we were just about to be seated at Red Robin, my wife noticed her keys weren't with her. We went out to the car and looked for them. She recalled that she had put them on the roof of the car. We called a neighbor who was nice enough to look around on the street by our house to see if they were there. We didn't want to wait until after dinner for someone to pick them up that would have no way of knowing whose they were. No luck. We did a small exercise in the physical sciences as we tried to figure out where they would have been most likely to have gained enough momentum to slide free of the car's roof. After much deliberation and calculation of possible trajectories we concluded it must be somewhere between our house and Red Robin. Lots of driving around. No keys.

After talking with a local homeless man, who was kind enough to offer to keep his eye out for us, and posting an ad on Craigslist, the implications began to dawn on us. With the electronic entry key fobs, if the keys had fallen off closer to the house, all it would take is a drive down the street at night for any less-than-scrupulous person to locate the car in front of the house with no problem, and voila, noiseless entry into to two cars and to the house. So to cover the possibility of the keys having been lost nearby, we are now out a couple of car clubs, four re-keyed house locks and the two lost key fobs. Don't those those fobs seem a bit overpriced? So the question is, have I used up all my forgotten roof item luck...or am I now finally due to restart another cycle where I'll be as lucky as I was with the boom box Barracuda experience? I'd better not push it.
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