Yesterday, the nice management service people came by, drove the car up the road, and left the key with me. That part when off without a hitch. But when I got inside the car, I couldn’t find the keys.
I looked first in the cupholders between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat. Not there. Then on the floor, near the pedals. Not there. Then under the seats, in the doors, in the backseats, under the seats again. Not there.
I had not locked the keys in the car. I had lost them. Somewhere between the car and the hundred meters to the cabin.
And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I had done with them.
This was unhelpful for a variety of reasons, the main one being that it had snowed all night. The keys would be under a layer of snow.
The most likely place to lose the keys would be between the car and the snowbank. Actually, that’s the only place where I could find the keys. The snow plow had actually come, so there was a chance that the keys had been swept away in a mound someplace, never to be seen again (at least until spring). The snow could not reach that place since the car was in the way.
So, I searched. I combed through the snow bank with gloved fingers. I dug pretty deep. I retraced my steps. I ran back to the cabin for a shovel, and I dragged it over the ground, scraping the snow to the ice below until….
The shovel uncovered the keys. They’re attached to a bright green keychain, so that was also helpful.
So, I picked them up and trudged back to the house, holding the keys very tightly, determined not to lose them again.
Inside, I hung them up, changed out of my snowy clothes, sat on the couch, and proceeded to get very upset.
Look, finding the keys was a miracle. You do not understand the amount of snow involved. This should have been a happy occasion, even better than chunks of sludge falling off the car in the Target parking lot.
Usually, I would find the whole situation a huge joke – to be shared with family and friends and blog in the form of a funny anecdote. Instead, I broke out the tissues and sniffled a little bit.
Something terrible had happened when I was dealing with all this snow-related car trouble. I should have realized it when I started getting a little dinky. I started running fever. I had been feeling a little funky this past week, but I had been so focused on revisions and getting my mom and sister back home that I hadn’t noticed.
This is how I discovered that even full-time writers need sick days. Since Christmas, I finished a novel, revised that novel, and revised another novel without more than a day’s rest in between. And queried agents too! Which you do actually lose sleep over! (Not huge, huge amounts, but the scariness is real.) This is a manic sort of pace, especially when you don’t take weekends.
Thus, I took a couple sick days. I’m not sure if I actually ran fever today, but I didn’t feel up to my normal perky, revision-driven routine.
So, you might call today’s day a “mental health day.” Which are also very important. I slept in. I read a book (a memoir! Nonfiction! For adults! Not even remotely work-related!). I took a couple ski runs. I watched a movie. I ate soup. I drank tea.
I shall have to remember to take breaks every once in a while, so that the universe doesn’t need to send me epic car trouble to make me see sense.
Of course, tomorrow is another work day….