Under Lock and Key

I saw a young man by a white car in the college parking lot near my work the other day. His bicycle was propped up against the car, and he was evidently trying to get into the car with  a long wire inserted through the window frame on the driver’s side. Given it was broad daylight and that there is a low crime rate in our town, I knew that he was the owner of the vehicle and he had locked his keys in the car.  He was still there, with a friend, when I went home for lunch, and they were still at it.

We are preparing for my agency moving to a new building, and we are faced with clearing out decades of materials before the move. Storage space in the new building is limited, so we need to go through multiple filing cabinets to sort and toss what we don’t need. We have discovered full, locked filing cabinets in storage rooms. We have no idea where the keys are. What now? Do we try, like the young man in the parking lot,  to jimmy the locks? Do we toss the whole thing, hoping that what ever is in the cabinet is not useful? It is a hard decision to make. I am glad that it is not up to me. I have the keys for the four psychology filing cabinets in my purse, and there they will stay until the cabinets are in position in the new building. I just better not lose my purse.

What do you have under lock and key? Ever been locked out of anything?

35 thoughts on “Under Lock and Key”

  1. Regarding the locked filing cabinets, perhaps someone will suggest you call a locksmith. If the locksmith can’t open them, he or she will at the very least drill out the locks. Not a hard decision at all.

    Once, when our kids were young and we were in the Rocky Mountains somewhere, at a scenic lookout, Robin and the girls were out of the car overlooking and I stepped briefly out, leaving the car running. When I closed the car door, it locked. All the doors were locked. We were out of range of any AAA service and this was before cell phones. The thing is, I don’t remember how we resolved it, although obviously we did or we’d still be there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I used to take the bus to work when I worked in downtown Minneapolis. There were a few times I got home and discovered I had left my keys at the office. I hid a key outside in case of emergencies, so I never had to actually take the bus back tot he office to retrieve a key.

    Now I have a keyless lock on one of the doors, one with a number pad that lets you enter a code to get in. I had coveted one of these for years, but when I looked at them in hardware store they were priced at about a hundred dollars, which I thought was a little steep. Then one day I spotted one for $33 at Home Depot and I jumped at it. You do have to change the batteries once a year or so, but the lock gives you plenty of warning before the batteries fail completely. I love my keyless lock.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Could you come back and tell us, Renee, what’s in the cabinets if you do in fact find out? Inquiring minds…

    We do have a small safe box (think bread box size) in Husband’s closet that I sometimes use as a step-stool. We go in there so seldom I’d forgotten that’s where we had my mom’s birth certificate, which we needed when she passed a few weeks ago.

    Most of the times I’ve been locked our of, say, my house, I was able to get in through a window. Once I had to break a window so I could reach the door… but I don’t remember any of the circumstances. Will see if anything else surfaces today.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We rely on our garage door opener for access to the house. I don’t know where the all the keys to our front and back doors are. Due to any number of factors there are different keys for different locks, sometimes even on the same door. The crime rate is so low here that it isn’t essential to lock the doors anyway, although we lock them at night and when we go on vacation. I probably need to have the locksmith come and key all the locks to the same key.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I grew up in a small town where virtually nobody felt the need to lock up. In the 1950s people would often leave the keys in the ignitions of parked cars. Our family car was a 1949 convertible with a wonky hydraulic system. You couldn’t put the top up or down and power windows did not work. Who would steal that?

    Carrying those attitudes with me, I lived nearly 40 years in the Mac Groveland neighborhood of St Paul without locking up my home except when we were out of town for two or more days. When I later lived in a tony area of Portland, I shocked neighbors by leaving my apartment unlocked day and night. I don’t lock my apartment now (although access to our building is strictly controlled).

    In a lifetime of refusing to use keys, I have suffered only one significant theft. Some stuff of modest value once disappeared from our St Paul home. There were tears and difficult conversations, and the cops interviewed us. That theft remains officially an unsolved crime. But I think I’ve figured it out. I’m now convinced that nobody took anything. The robbery might have been a staged event meant to make a point. We’ll never know for sure

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    We have a safe deposit box at a bank. I have been waiting for the bank lobby to re-open so I can go inventory what is in there—it has been several years since I have been there. Our wills are the primary thing stored there, along with original copies of birth certificates and a bag of ancient coins that have some value.

    When I get pre-occupied with a major life change, I leave my keys everywhere except where I need them. My office has keyless entry keypad which solved innumerable problems (including police invasion which we experienced 1 year ago).

    When I started my private practice 15 years ago, I locked my keys in the car WITH THE CAR RUNNING. I locked myself out of the office and had to reach my office mate who rescued me.

    OT: We picked a gallon of sour cherries last night. After pitting, they made a quart and a half. My guess is we will get that many today and tomorrow. 😍

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Last June 21 I was at work facilitating a therapy group. Without any warning someone was banging very, very loudly on the group room door. I opened it to find a City of Savage policeman (they don’t like being called the “Savage Police”—imagine that) towering over me.

        Him: Are you Jacqueline Stratton?

        Me: Yes

        Him: Do you drive a such and such car?

        Me: No. I drive a Ford Escape.

        Him: Well, we found your business card this car.

        Me: I am a therapist. I am sure my business card is out there.

        Him: Well someone in such and such a car hit another car in your parking lot. Let me in there.

        Me: I cannot let you in. I am bound by HIPAA guidelines that do not allow me to divulge the identities of clients.

        Him: You are obstructing the investigation of a crime. Now let me in.

        Me: No, sir. I cannot do that. My professional requirements, by law, don’t allow that.

        Him: I can arrest you for this…more loud threats and intimidation followed.

        After he left without arresting me, I asked the group if anyone in the room had such and such a car. Someone did. The entire thing was recorded on the officer’s camera.

        I called his sergeant to report that there had been a problem in the office. He also threatened me, telling me “You know there is a recording of this,” to which I told him, well I am sure it recorded this policeman trying to intimidate an old lady and asking her to do something that is outside of her professional requirements. Is that what you want?

        We wrote letters of complaint to the police chief, the mayor, and the police board. We did get a “sorta” apology from the mayor and police chief. I consulted my good friend who I used to work with doing child protective interventions about how to word the complaint. He thought it was a great victory to even get a “sorta” apology.

        The guy was waaaaay too aggressive for the situation. A Barney.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ve only been locked out of my car once. Teen and I were on the way to visit Barb in Blackhoof. We stopped in Sturgeon Lake on the way up, at a small convenience store. I left the keys on the dash because Teen was staying in the car. Inside the store I turned around and there was Teen, keys were still inside the car on the dash and it was locked up tight. I had a cell phone at this point, and luckily it was in my purse which I had with me. But I didn’t have Barb and Steve’s phone number so we had to look it up in a phonebook. Remember those? Anyway luckily AAA was available and close by and he came out and got the car open for us. It made us about a half an hour later than we had expected.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I mentioned that our family car was an old convertible. Once my dad locked his keys inside, probably because he had no habit of locking the car. We didn’t lock up in Ames, but we were visiting the town next door, Boone. My parents considered Boone a risky place because a lot of “railroad people” lived there. Dad solved the lockout problem by slitting a plastic window and boosting me through it. The plan was to replace the window on our insurance by claiming our car had been vandalized. My sister was old enough to understand what had happened but too young to grasp the reason for fibbing about it. When the insurance agent asked her who had cut the window and why, she told him.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I have never locked myself out of my car; knock on wood, I never will. I have, however, taken the bus home from work, and then remembered when I got all the way home, that I had driven my car to work.

    I’m pretty careful with my keys, the only time I have locked myself out of our house was when, years ago, I dropped my car off for repairs at a local mechanic’s shop. When I got back home I realized that the keys I had left at the mechanic’s also contained my house key. The wife of the owner of the neighborhood corner store drove me back to the mechanic’s to retrieve the house key, so no broken windows or other trauma.

    I, too, have a safe deposit box at the bank. This goes all the way back to when I worked in the IDS tower in the early 1980s, I have no memory of what’s in it. All of our “important” papers are in the safe we have upstairs, so it’s a mystery to me what I might have thought important enough to have in the bank box. I should probably go check it out if we ever get back to “normal.” Who knows, I might be rich.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They say you shouldn’t have your wills in a safe deposit box unless someone is authorized to get them out when needed.
      We don’t have those VIPapers in there anymore. Some random jewelry that Kelly inherited is all in ours I think. Hmm… wonder where that key is?

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Hi-
    First, thank you PJ for the comments yesterday.
    Our son and DiL were down last Sunday and we talked about the situation for a long time. Honestly, it was worse than we imagined for he and the other officers. The biggest thing is, the higher ups have not been keeping the men on the streets informed.
    No one told those officers trying to hold 3rd precinct that they were planning on letting it go. Son and his other teammates were the last ones in there and helped the 3rd precinct officers get out the back door as the crowd was coming in the front. It was terrible.
    He’s working with a lot of good officers and they’re doing their best. I’m afraid it’s just like any business where you have the “owners” vs the “Workers”.

    I’ve never been locked out of our house. For years we didn’t lock our doors either. I think it was only after we got married we started locking the doors.
    After a remodeling and we put new door locks in, I have a spare key outside. I try to carry one with me all the time.
    Bigger deal was learning to take the keys out of vehicles. Easier now that so many have key fob and it just stays in my pocket.
    I have locked keys in the car before. Done the coat hanger down the door frame before. Also called professionals before.

    Renee, I’d be tempted to just toss those file cabinets. If no ones been in there for years it must not be anything you were missing or needed. But for the sake of security I do suppose you should get in them. Good Luck. Let us know what you find!

    There is a room down below the theater at the college. We call it the ‘sand pit’. The only access is a 2′ hole in the wall. But over the years, people stuffed things in there. It’s a tall room once in, and fairly good sized. Lots of electrical stuff, but there also was a couple dozen boxes of enrollment records from the 1970’s. Everyone’s social security numbers included. They did finally haul those boxes out a few years ago.
    Every now and then if I’m looking for *something*, to build a prop or whatnot, I’ll look around in that room for odds and ends.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Wow, Ben, I am so sorry you had to hear a story like that from your son. I know the policemen everywhere are getting rough treatment due to the actions of a rogue cop.

        Liked by 4 people

  11. I remember that we had to boost our son, then age 5, through his bedroom window to let us into the house when we were locked out. He thought it was pretty cool.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. My garage does not have a side door on it, only the garage door that opens up for the cars. The old garage door opener was electric and did not have a fail safe so whenever the electricity was out, you couldn’t get the garage door open. The first time it happened and we had to be somewhere, I broke the garage window and sent Child through to jump up and grab the cord that disabled the garage door opener so it could be opened manually. Two years later this happened again and I again sent Child through. After that I drilled a hole through the top of the garage door and sent a rope through the hole and tied it to the manual cord. I had to use that three times over the years before we got a new garage door with the actual fail safe key in it.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. When I was working at the alternative school, it happened with some regularity that one of our teachers would lock themselves out of their car, but because we had so many students who quite adept at breaking into cars, it was never a problem.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Growing up in a town of about 500 people, we never locked our house or cars for years. We even went on a vacation to Seattle while local carpenters were doing some remodeling in the house. I don’t remember when we started locking the house but we did keep the spare key in the stand alone garage, which was never locked. I got my first car while still at the U of MN – always locked it, especially because it was parked out in the open. It became such a habit that I locked it whenever visiting home. Dad chided me about locking in while parked in our driveway. I only locked myself out of my car once. It was many years ago on a hot summer day when I was expecting company and had gone grocery shopping. There was ice cream among the groceries – thankfully the car had vinyl seats. I must have walked back to my apartment to wait for my company and then we went back to the car and somehow he managed to get it open. I don’t remember the details. I locked myself out of my condo once but my neighbors were home and they had my spare key so it was no big deal. I live in a second floor walk-up so breaking in via a window would not have been possible.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Despite growing up in a small town in which many people did not lock doors, I started compulsively checking our family home doors after I read “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote when I was age 14. I still do and I still think of that story. Shudder.

      Liked by 4 people

  14. Jacque that’s a crazy, scary story. I know our deputies have had trouble dealing with staff and residents of a treatment center in our township.
    But none have gotten as belligerent as the Savage officer. And then the administrator of the center shoved one of the deputies. Well, that’s not the right thing to do either and he got arrested. And then replaced as director. Since then, they’ve had a better working relationship.
    There would have been other ways the officer could have handled that.

    Liked by 2 people

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