The key to keyless

The advent of keyless entry systems rescued me.

No longer do I lock myself out of my house and car, which is big, as in HUGE. I have found myself on the wrong side of a locked door more times than I like to recall.

No longer can I lock someone in my car. Because, you see, I have locked someone in the car—not once, but twice. 

Poor Trey. On both occasions, I freed his sisters from their car seats and realized—too late—that my infant son was AWOL, car doors locked tight—keys in car. 

It pains me to admit it, but—full disclosure—the incidents took place on two separate, sizzling summer days. Both were mindless acts of a Mom raising three kids under the age of four.

Trey lived to tell about it, only he has no recollection of those misadventures. For that, I am ever thankful.

Advancements in keyless entry systems gave birth to remote keyless system (RKS). With a touch of button, I unlock my car doors. Best of all, I can start my car when I’m in the house—warm it up in winter and cool it off in summer.

But the RKS has its challenges. One can walk into a grocery store and come out to find the vehicle still running. One, meaning me. 

The alarm beeped, but my ever-busy brain did not associate the irritating noise with the ignition that had not been fully turned off. Yes, I know. I’m an LG—Lucky Girl—that no one took my still running vehicle for a spin.

The other issue with RKS happens when I am the driver and my husband Gary is the key-holder. Such was the case one evening when we met our daughter Kristen in downtown Charleston, SC for dinner.

“We’ll take you home,” I said to Kristen as we finished up. 

Once in the car, I had another bright idea.

“Gary, I’ll drop you off to say hello to Trey (who worked nearby) while I take Kristen home,” I said.

Three blocks later, Gary jumped out of the car, Kristen popped into the shotgun seat, and off we went. 

“Mom, your car is beeping,” said Kristen.

We checked seatbelts and doors. I finally noticed a fluorescent green message blinking on my dash: “No Key Detected.”

“Ugh. Your dad has the key. I’ll call him to let him know we’re driving back to get it,” I said.

The phone rang. Gary answered. I explained about not having the key and said we were turning around to retrieve it.

“I’m not sure what’s going on,” said the voice on the other end.

I had called Gary—the wrong Gary. Big Gary, my father-in-law, did not know what to think. He and I laughed over my blunder while I gestured to Kristen to text her dad. 

“Dad is not answering his texts,” said Kristen.

I dialed the correct Gary. No answer.

“I hear music,” said Kristen. “Do you hear music?”

I didn’t recognize the melody because Gary doesn’t have a special ringtone for me. When he calls me, Michael Jackson sings, “The Way You Make Me Feel.” 

But I digress. 

The music Kristen heard came from the glovebox which is where we found my husband’s phone. Gary had our car key. We had his phone. 

We were living an Abbott and Costello “Who’s on first” dilemma. 

The good news: I could have taken Kristen the two miles and back to her house without the key. I could have driven keyless for miles as long as the car didn’t run out of fuel.

The bad news: I did not know this at the time.

All Kristen and I could do was laugh—laugh and re-claim the key. We did both.


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