April 24, 2006

Monday, Monday pt 1

The last time I locked my keys in the car was nearly 20 years ago. I had only one set and stoopitly locked the door with the keys still in the ignition. I don't even remember how I got the door open. I seem to remember asking a cop to use his Slim Jim to open it and he may have done it. So, from then on out, and through three more vehicles over the years, I always made sure that I had two sets of car keys on me at all times.

I've had the new (to me) car on the road for a couple of weeks now and I've been meaning to get over to Home Depot to have a second set of keys made. But I just haven't found myself over near Home Depot yet so I was still, as of this morning, driving around with only one set.

Then it happened. At about 8:30am I had arrived back at the house from a little shopping. One of the purchases was a bottle of transmission fluid. On Saturday my uncle told me the car had a slow transmission leak and that I should check it very soon. So, I bought the fluid. The manual in the glove compartment said that I should check it while the engine is idling and warmed up, but not too hot. So I left the key in the ignition, released the hood, grabbed the bottle and exited the car. I, of course, instinctively and out of pure reflex, locked the door. With the keys inside. And the engine running.


I stood there staring at the car from top to bottom and side to side to see if there was some way that I wasn't seeing to open that door. Or a window. Or to climb through the hatch. Anything. Nothing.

I went inside and called my cousin to see if he has a second set of keys that he forgot to give me. Nope.

I looked around the house, through several rooms, looking for anything that I could use as a makeshift Slim Jim. I don't even have any wire hangers in my closet.

But I then found a metal shish kabob skewer in one of the kitchen drawers. Ah HA! It was long and had a loop at the end. I pried open the loop at bit so that it could catch whatever it needs to catch in order to raise the lock.

I managed to get the thing in between the door and the window, but I couldn't turn it to reach into the cavity. I could only move it up and down parallel to whatever mechanism is hidden in there. So, I tried the passenger side door. I was able, with difficulty, to turn the loop 90 degrees, but I wasn't catching anything. "Good kharma, c'mon," I thought. "Think positive thoughts...fortune favors the foolish..." I then tried to force the window down, but that wasn't gonna happen. I didn't want to smash a window, but I couldn't just let it run until the gas ran out. There was 3/4 of a tank in there.

Then I saw the back window. If you know them old 2-door hatchbacks, the back windows down roll down, they swing outward at the back, connected to a latch. I put my open-faced palms on the window and found that I could move it around. Turns out that the bottom bolt at the front end of the window was broken and there was some play at the back -- the side that opens out. When I pushed the window up, the latch would drop to open a bit, but not enough to get it open.

So I grabbed the shish kabob skewer and pulled the window out just far enough to get the skewer inside. Up it reached, grabbed the latch and pulled it open. YES!!! But the window only opens up about 2 1/2 inches at the rear and tapers to next to nothing at the hinged front. The door lock button thingy is, of course, on the other side of the rear window's hinge.

But, luckily, I've got long skinny arms. I took off my coat, took off my sweater, rolled up my left sleeve and stuck my arm into the car. Pushing and pushing my arm forward with the window pressuring my arm at that thinner area between the shoulder muscle and the bicep, I managed to finally reach the lock button and pull it up. The door was unlocked! I opened it and turned the engine off. It had sitting there idling for about half an hour at that point.

Testing the transmission fluid would have to wait a while.

To be continued...

Posted by Tuning Spork at April 24, 2006 01:59 PM | TrackBack
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