I BET many can fully understand when I say that keys, those small metallic objects that are very important to unlock rooms, drawers and closets can easily get misplaced. No matter how much you try to keep them at a convenient place, they seem to have a mind of their own in getting lost.
Going home at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning last year, I didn't have an inkling that something was about to happen that would teach me a lesson to be extra-careful with my keys.
While the world was busy enjoying and celebrating the Christmas festivities with family and friends, I was lost in 'surf-land' with a few other internet addicts inside an internet cafe in Bolton Street, busily munching on sitsirya that served as my noche buena in between encoding and mouse-clicking.
I decided not to go home for the holidays and catch up on work backlog instead because my family agreed to move our celebration later.
Almost asleep on my feet, I mounted the 12 steps of stairs leading to my room and groggily dug into the side pocket of my shoulder bag to get my key. I fumbled among the other bits and objects in the pocket but my hand didn't come into contact with it.
"Oh no, not again!" I mumbled, my heart beginning to flutter in alarm. I became fully awake as I remembered that I changed shoulder bags that morning and left my key in the other bag. I could clearly visualize the the key inside my bag sitting on top of my jumbo pillow, mocking my predicament.
For a whole year, I had to change padlocks three times after both keys, the original and the duplicate seems to have a habit of getting lost. Any technique just wouldn't work. Buddy Don describes my 'lost-key syndrome' with a capital letter 'T', short for 'tanga'.
Going back to the internet cafe was out of the question. I was so sleepy that I had no choice but decided to break the doorlock. Not wanting to disturb my next-door neighbor, I started to poke the padlock with the tip of a nailcutter I always carry with me. I stopped and stood still in the darkness when I heard a slight movement from the other room whose door faces mine.
I held my breath and when there was silence from the other side, I resumed my work. Finally, after much effort and with my hands getting raw and sore, one screw broke loose. Three more to go.
I poked and twisted again, not aware that the rythmic poking ang twisting had aroused my next-door neighbor completely.
Just when the lock came loose and I was about to push open the door, a strong beam of light blinded my face. I stumbled and barely stifled a shout when my next-door neighbor almost wallopped me with a piece of wood.
Upon recognizing me, his jaw dropped open in shock.
"Uh, sorry, I thought it was a burglar," he uttered a hasty and embarassed apology before retreating back into his room. I released a deep breath and leaned back on the door in relief but it crashed open and I landed on the floor buttocks first.
To add to my embarassment, my neighbor opened his door again to check what happened so that I had to slam the door to hide myself.
Think I learned my lesson? Not quite. I had a scare this morning as I fished for my key in its usual place in my shoulder bag pocket and it was not there. I practically sprinted back as I remembered that my room key is still attached to the padlock outside my door.