Remote, at Best

The car remote:  Isn’t that a great invention?  Entering the car is already a risky venture for a germophobe like me.  I have to use a folded tissue or a baggie to open the door because there’s no way for me to keep the outside of the door clean, but there’s always the risk of a slip.  I can’t count the number of times an errant finger has escaped the safety of the tissue or the times a baggie has slipped on the handle owing to the rain or has torn for some reason unknown.  But thank goodness the remote unlocks the door!  Or does it?

I was given two remotes when I bought my car.  They have become damaged through the years, developing cracks that require tape to keep them together.  Changing the battery is a quite a process, with the un-taping, the battery exchange, the piecing together of the broken parts, and the re-taping.  Some years ago I was putting the remote back together but didn’t have all the parts aligned correctly.  I bent a critical piece and ruined it.  The light comes on when the button is pressed, but it doesn’t flash as it is designed to do, nor does it unlock the door.

I knew I would need to be extra careful with the remaining remote.  I asked about a replacement remote one time when I had my car at the dealership for some work.  The employee I spoke with seemed to be bent on dissuading me from the idea by telling me how expensive it was and how difficult it would be to locate the correct device.  It would clearly have to be done on another visit, if at all.  Not eager to subject my car to another contaminating intrusion, I quickly abandoned the idea.  I pursued that inquiry when my remotes were both breaking down from wear and tear, but now I was down to one.

Then it happened:  The day came when I couldn’t find the remaining remote.  Where could it have gone?  I used it to open the car at the store one evening, and the next morning it was missing.  There were only so many places it could be.  I kept it in my purse at all times, so if it wasn’t there, I must have dropped it.  I checked the car floor without success.  I took everything out of my purse two or three times.  I even felt the lining of my purse in case it had somehow worked itself into the tiny hole in the lining, impossible as that was.  The only other plausible scenario I could envision was dropping the remote into the shopping cart instead of my purse.  It was dark outside when I took it out to use at the store.  My habit was to immediately drop it right back in my purse, but I may have missed the mark in the dark and noisy parking lot.  I called the store to see if a car remote had been turned in, but that was negative.

What have I done since that dark night three months ago?  I had to designate one of my car keys as the dirty key.  (I would put quotation marks around “dirty,” but it has become thoroughly filthy in my eyes.)  I keep the dirty key in a baggie, folded up in my purse.  When the time comes to get into the car, I cautiously pull back the sides of the baggie until the keyblade pokes through the opening.  Still holding the plastic head of the key with the protection of the outer baggie, I place the keyblade in the lock and turn.  When is the last time you did that?  It’s surprisingly not very easy!  It’s probably because I’m using only the strength of a couple of fingers to turn it rather than the entire hand, but the fact that it has to be turned twice to make the car open doesn’t help matters.  What happens when I get in the car?  I can’t reuse the same baggie to store the key, so I drop the key gingerly on the passenger seat and put the used baggie on the floor on that side of the car.  Then I get a new baggie and turn it inside out.  I pick up the key with my hand inside the reversed baggie and then pull the clean sides up around it.  At that point, the baggie is ready to fold up and reenter my purse.  On a day when I have several stops, the car floor is littered with used baggies!

What next?  How long will this elaborate ritual continue?  I found a website that sells car remotes, and I bought one!  But the programming didn’t work because my car is so old.  Looks like it’s time for a new car!

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