Monday, March 24, 2008


So, its after midnight and i cant sleep. Every time i lay down to go to bed, the wheels in my brain just start a-racing, and I'm left to think and rethink every minuscule detail in my life. Should i have done this, how will i do that. It is in the wee hours where one is forcing themselves to try to go to sleep where regrets are formed, and abstract ideas toss around and around until they form themselves into something substantial.

It was tonight, that i started thinking about keys. Yes, keys.. like a house key, or a car key. Those simple little metal things, that can be colour coded, and at some hardware stores you can even get them pre-painted to don the logo of your favorite sports team. Keys: a symbol of responsibility, the icon of adulthood. Its not to often we think about our keys, not of course unless we lose them. Keys, tiny pieces of metal, are symbolic of the ever increasing responsibility we attain as we journey down our developemental paths. The first time we receive our very first key, it is a monumental occasion, thought over by our parents, probably late at night, while they tossed and turned, forcing sleep upon themselves. As a child you get your first key, to your house, and probably lose it once or maybe even twice, before your parent (in my case my mother), gets some sort of tacky god awful string, and ties that key around your neck, a forshadowing of the heavy responsibility that keys will bring in the future. This first key, even has a title for its bearer, the child goes from just a regular every day school goer, to the infamous "latch-key-kid". Its a fairly slow progression up the key responsibility ladder, though everything at that age seems to take forever. You soon carry your bike key.. possibly a locker key. You may even be a responsible young person, and have a key ring for these few keys. I myself, didn't take on the task of key ring duty until i took on my next title: renter. Yes, i was an apartment renter before i owned a car. And with that set of keys, and new title, came oh so much more responsibility -- rent and the joyous utility bills. From there, its just a hop skip and jump until you get a new set of keys to tack onto your ever increasing in weight key ring -- literally and figuratively -- you get a work key, you are now an employee. You have to show up, some times maybe open a store, and the responsibility mounts even higher. Soon, you move up, you get a new title, you become a manager, you get even more keys, to the safe, to the store room. Of course now you are no longer only responsible for yourself, you have staff to look out for. Most likely by this time, hopefully, you have a vehicle. Thus, you have 2 new keys - the door key, and the engine key, and most likely a spare set somewhere for this 2 ton paper weight of responsibility. Here we see a meshing and interdependency developing with your keys, with out some, you wouldn't have others. With out the office keys, would you have a house key? a car key? Not very likely. Of course, home owning entails way more keys than renting, and arguably you would get more keys if you owned; the garage, the shed, an office room, or private study. And, just when it seems that you have peaked at the key acquisition progression, you come to a full circle when of course, you have to get copies of your aging parent's house keys, when it becomes time for you to care for them. You don the title "caregiver" with these keys, and as your parents tossed and turned decades ago, you now have tossed and turned many sleepless nights trying to decide if the time is right to take their keys. Key after key, responsibility after responsibility, title after title, we start early in life, and it doesn't ever seem to stop... until of course, we start losing our keys, our titles, and yes, our responsibilities -- either by choice, or by force. We retire, family members yell at us when we try to drive and eventually force us to relinquish our car keys (and the spares), and we have to give our children the key to our own houses. They take our keys, they take our responsibility. In the end, many of us will go to nursing homes, and we, like the latch key kids we once were, will most likely be reduced to only one key, our room key. Knowing me, I'll still be so damned irresponsible ill have to wear the bloody thing around my neck so i don't lose it.


Anonymous said...

Gawd I love you! I'm so glad I'm not the only one laying awake at night. Sadly I can't say that my thoughts are as provoking as yours. Mine tend to stray towards pygmy goats.
I live in denial of my responsibilities. Carrying only the absolutely necessary keys on hand while keeping the barrage of keys to the rest of my life buried in the darkest depths of my purse. I know they're there, but I try not to pay any attention to them. I have also never once in my life lost my keys. As it turns out you can learn as much about someone by their keys as you can their shoes.

miss you

Anonymous said...

wow...just amaze and delight me always, but especially after that...way to give me one MORE thing to scurry through my head in the wee hours!

kat xxx

itinerant_tee said...

1. i love both you guys.

2. cheryl it doesnt surprise me that youve never lost your keys, or that you keep necessary keys separate from the others.

3. Who DOESNT think about pygmy goats while they are falling asleep? I also think about fainting goats, ive always wanted a place where i can have fainting goats by a road so when cars drive by they all fall down together. How awesome would that be?

Anonymous said...

wow a pygmy goat fetish?


mama said...

First that was an amazing piece of work and should be published in the newspaper in some byline.
Second, I remember each key phase that you go through, including turning my keys in when I retired. I went from seven keys on my key ring to four keys and I was soooo excited. Ands then when I went from an apartment to a house, I dropped another two keys and picked up one house key. That left me with three. When I stopped driving, I was left with one key and believe me, I am thrilled. At top form, I had a key ring with two key rings hanging from it and the sucker was heavy. Now. its light and I don't want to go back.