I lost my keys today. I was running a few errands and I locked my bike up outside the grocery store and headed in to pick up a few things. When I came out fifteen minutes later, my keys were gone. I was wearing a pair of shorts I haven’t worn for a long time so the first thing I checked was for holes in the pockets. No, all good. I got down on my hands and knees and searched every square inch of grass around where I’d locked my bike. Nothing.
I headed back into the store, asked at the info desk for lost keys and no one had turned anything in. So then I tried to retrace my steps, produce section, deli counter, bread area… no sign of them anywhere.
I knew they had to be between my bike and the store or in the store itself and it had only happened in the last few minutes but I felt lost and a little bit crazy. As I repeated my steps, getting a little more forensic with each subsequent search, I could feel, and then eventually see, that people were starting to look at me. Down on my knees outside in the grass, looking under shelves and racks in the store. I know I was starting to look crazy.
It was a helpless feeling. I couldn’t go home because I couldn’t get into my home. I couldn’t take my bike. I could only carry around my helmet and my seat and a bag of groceries that were quickly in need of some refrigeration.
The smallest of things, the tiniest of circumstances, and my day was turned upside down. I’d lost some keys, some important keys, in the most innocent of manners. But it mattered.
After about an hour of searching, as I was waiting for my wife to pick me up and bring me home, they turned up. Someone had turned them in. It turns out I’d spent so much time with my head down, searching the ground, that I didn’t see that they’d been put upon a post, right at my eye-level, hoping to be seen.
My pockets didn’t have any holes in them but they likely will one day. And just like today, we’ll all likely lose a key some day. When we least expect it. And though there’s no guarantee we’ll find them, I re-learned the lesson that it’s important to look up sometimes instead of looking down.