Hand Washed

I was walking to my car this morning and not paying attention, which is pretty standard fare for me these days, when I put my key into the driver’s side door, turned the key, and unlocked the car.

I have no idea why.

I don’t have a car that needs to be manually opened.  I have the clicker, James Bond, beepy thing.  I have not used a key to open my car since my gold Hyundai.  I remember the first car I bought with a clicker and thinking they were stupid.  I actually said to the sales guy, “Who can’t just open the door?”  He mentioned something about the benefits if your hands are full and I just rolled my eyes.

Over the years, the clicker has become normal, it’s automatic, and I never think about the act of getting into my car.

Something led me to open my car today, not just click in, but insert the metal key and open.

I was thrown for a bit, but then it felt great, like I was connecting to something I had forgotten was possible.  I don’t need the clicker.  If the battery goes out on the little plastic box attached to my keyring, I can still get into my cozy car.  There is something about contact.  I drift away from it and then when it reaches out to touch me, I miss it.

I miss touch in general sometimes.

I was driving home thinking about other things.  Moving the needle on our record player to hear my song again, or answering the telephone that was attached to the wall.  Having to stand in the kitchen, twirl the cord and be around other people.  I can still recall the sound of a kitchen phone ring.  Brilliant.

I remember when we used to have to get up and turn a dial to change the channel on our television.  There was effort, conversation about which channel before someone was elected to get up, adjust the antenna, or turn the dial.  Our television even had these plastic knobs you could turn to improve the picture.  I think there was a rough edged one around the channel dial too. I loved to just play with them and see the squiggly line variations.

Wow, I had forgotten about that too.  Back then televisions weren’t everywhere, an annoyance, they were a treat.  Getting to watch cartoons on Saturday morning, a clear picture with some sound, was special.

I’m sure I sound old, and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy technology.  Having a car clicky box is nice when my hands are full, but my memories are lovely too.  Maybe it has nothing to do with the car key or the television.  Maybe it’s the feelings, the time in my life, tied to those things.

The last time I put a key in a car I had a used Hyundai with a cassette player and really bad speakers.  I was starting out and everything touched me, everything was new.  It was wonderful to go back there today.

All it took was an absent mind and my car key, life is cool that way.

My thoughts from the laundry room.  Feeling sleepy.

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18 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Wow, I loved this one. I had to use another key to take my car to the shop a few weeks ago and it forced me to unlock the doors with the key. It took me three tries to get them unlocked. Geez, how quickly we forget. And old television sets. I had a portable color tv my parents bought me when I graduated from college ( I wanted a microwave.)
    That no cable, just antennas, no remote, just dials television was a fascinating dinosaur for my kids to marvel over and pay homage to when we moved to a new house and it was days before the cable tech arrived to hook us up.
    Thanks for the memories.

  2. Thanks for the stroll down “memory lane” Tracy–I never ever thought I would ever say that line–but I remember real records and twirly phone cords–that was just yesterday. . . . 🙂

  3. Great memories – I have many of the same. My car clicker battery died a couple years ago, so now I always use the key on my 16-yr-old van! This generation of kids will have a new set of old memories, who knows what they’ll be?

  4. Soon it will be done with sensors that have been surgically put into the brain. Education will be implants. Want to learn German, it is a chip in your frontal lobe. Want to turn off a light blink three times. Welcome to the future. Be scared, be very scared and for God’s sake do not blink. (Dr. Who)

  5. I get it. I was sick over Xmas which was not good but the total disconnect from electronics made me feel more grounded again. I could think in complete sentences rather than frenetic phrases. Here’s to the tactile.

  6. Haha great read. Touch has exited our lives and an inpersonal arsenal of stuff is around us. I read now where a fist shake, where you bump someones fist in greeting is becoming the new handshake. Less contact you get less chance of germs, its more not personal.

    I know exactly what youre saying. Well said. Take

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