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My Big Red Couch

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Clipped Keys

Clipped Keys, originally uploaded by Bearded Jon.

My key fob broke. More specifically the carabiner that holds my several rings of keys broke. We walked the dogs, all three of them, the other night and Pennie Lane's leash snagged the hook of the carabiner where it hangs out of my pocket and that little yank broke the spring that keeps the clasp shut.

Not a big deal but it got me to take a good look at my keys this morning. I'm carrying around an awful lot of stuff that, whether it be sentimentality or a lack of consideration, I just don't need. Not an awful lot of stuff, but a few things that I don't really need.

I bought the carabiner at LL Bean's when I lived in Maine. Gina and I, sometimes with Doug, sometimes with Mark, would go to LL Bean's in Freeport it seemed like every weekend. We would go late at night because in the late 1980's the only stores that were allowed to be open 24 hours a day by law were a few chain grocery stores in Portland and LL Bean's up in Freeport. We would go in and wander around and dream about canoing and camping and hiking and climbing; things we would never do but we could vicariously late at night through the well stocked shelves. I bought the carabiner, or maybe Gina bought it for me, because I had car keys and an apartment key and not really any other keys but it was a memento. And it still is. Just a less functional memento.

The shaft is worn red paint scraped away to reveal scratched aluminum beneath. The spring loaded bit is brass colored and now that it is broken there is a metal pin sticking out, the mechanism that keeps the bit tight to the shaft.

I have three rings on this carabiner: two of keys and one an electronic fob that lets me into the radio station. The first ring has a key to the ignition and the doors of Brian's old Chevy, a padlock key, I'm guessing to his trailer and a bottle opener. Brian still has the trailer but the old Chevy has been gone for at least a year. I should probably give him his keys back. The bottle opener gets the most use of anything on my key set.

The second set is a little more obscure: a flamed house key, a back door (or front depending on which end you are used to coming in but technically it is the back door) office key, a hotel room key and a motorcycle key.

Its these last two that are obscure.

Hotels don't use keys anymore and I can't remember the last time that I stayed in a hotel that did, a hotel that would have given me a key that wasn't on a branded fob anyway. Sure, the places we stayed in California last year didn't have electronic keys but these didn't come from there. Likewise, neither the motel in Dawson nor the lodge in Burwash Landing had loose keys. But I'm guessing this is from a motorcycle trip. The question is which trip.

The motorcycle key is another tricky one. The BMW keys are small and all accounted for and all of the Harley keys I have ever seen are branded. This is a plain hardware store cut key. Maybe it goes to the Kawachoppy. With just the two Beemers in the garage it certainly isn't a necessity to have this key anymore.

But the keys on clip have a nice jangle to them, a nice heft in your hand. I haven't gotten rid of any of them. Yet. But I have switched to a different carabiner, a promotional that came in the mail with a corporate logo on it. It is smaller than the LL Bean clip and just doesn't feel right in my hand. But with my hands in my pockets and that clip right below my right hand for over 20 years I can expect it to take a little getting used to.

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