Saturday, April 19, 2014

Really, Officer. It's My Jeep, Photo 18

On Friday, it was travel again, this time back into the city to be on a job I was at a week ago. This was to finish things up. I was talking with the co-worker who went with me to service equipment we have on the site. We feel like zombies, although we do have brains. "Braaaaaiiiinnnssss" It's more in the idea that we are pointed in a direction and we just go. We aren't even completely thinking. We have things memorized of what we need for any job, but we're all so tired because of the work load that, sometimes, little things on the periphery of a job are missed. This is a story about that.

I finished what I had to do on Friday. The job is east of the University of Chicago. It's a multi-cultural neighborhood with old homes, new homes, old apartment buildings, new apartment buildings, stores, shops, night clubs and pretty much any amenity you'd like in an urban environment. As a "safe" location in the city, it's pretty good. I still wouldn't leave valuables in my car and I'd lock it, but the old rusty Jeeps (*cough) fit right in with the Volvos and the Mercedes and the Audis.

As I was walking down the alley toward the street where I'd parked the Jeep, I couldn't find my car keys. I have a squeezeable flashlight on the key chain, (Love it! Just love it!), home and office keys. That's it.

I was carrying a camera bag so I stopped and searched all the pockets in the bag. No keys. I searched my jacket and pants pockets. No keys. I tried to remember where I had been. I wouldn't have left the keys inside the building. I didn't remember even having them in my hand when I entered the building. Did I leave them in the Jeep?

There was a twinge of panic. I strode down the alley and crossed the street to the Jeep. What you see above is what I saw. Not only did I leave them in the Jeep, I left them in the ignition. But I did lock the doors. That, you see, is very important. Now, how was I going to get in?

Well, not to tell you how to break into a soft top Jeep, but this is what I did. I took off the rear passenger window. I now could just reach around and unzip the passenger window. That only works if the zipper for the window is on the passenger side of the window not, as mine was, up by the engine. I couldn't reach the lock. It was a good 6 inches too far from my reach. This is the part where not cleaning out the Jeep came in handy.

I grabbed the long-handled snow brush and tried to find an angle to push the lock to unlock the door. I couldn't get a good angle. I looked around. There was no way I was going to climb into the back seat. I'm not limber enough to do that. On the floor in the back, I spotted a long-handled ice scraper. The scraping part had broken off a few years ago. I think about tossing it because it's really not useful, but I never got around to it. Where the scraper part had attached to the handle and had broken off, there were these "wings", for lack of a better word. I was able to get one of the wings in the string tab of the zipper and pull it to open the window. Once it was open enough, I could get my hand in and unlock the door to get the keys. Then the window went back on and I could head back to the office.

It was only as I was driving out of the city that I realized one major point. My Jeep was still in the spot where I left it. If ever there was an invitation to a car theft, it was right there; keys in the ignition of a soft top Jeep. Never mind that this is 10:30 in the morning on a Friday. Hello? You want a car? It's right here. To say I was "lucky" is a huge understatement. Of course, there's rust and a cracked windshield and you need to know how to drive a stick, but the only thing missing was a neon sign with an arrow pointing to the Jeep.

Yet, when I was standing there removing the window, the only thing I thought of was how fitting it would be to have one of Chicago's finest, on patrol, drive by about now. He'd see this woman unzipping the back window of a Jeep. Would he stop and ask what I was doing? Would he believe me when I explained the dilemma? My one worry is that he'd look at me and say, "Riiiight, lady. Why don't you come with me to the station." It never crossed my mind that I could come back to an empty parking spot.

I was incredibly lucky. You can bet that I will check, 2, 3, 4 times now when I have to park the car and go to a job, to see that I have my keys. Murphy and his laws were kind to me yesterday. I shouldn't press my luck.

Beverage:  Scottish Breakfast Tea


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