keys. wallet. phone. ✓

Looking through some of the memories from my jar, I found at least 3 that referenced getting locked out of my apartment. I suspect there are probably more, and that doesn’t even include the times I was locked out BEFORE starting to keep these notes, including locking myself out in the very first hour after moving into said apartment…

I think my problem is because I’ve never really had to keep track of keys. When we moved to Arlington when I was 6, the house was already old. By the time I was coming and going on my own, the door had long been broken and no longer locked on its own. We never bothered to repair it or to make copies of the key to the deadbolt.

In college, I only needed my ID to swipe into my building. I could have locked the door to my dorm room, but I was at the top of three or four flights of stairs, so I was never really nervous about potential thieves. Plus, the only thing I had up there really worth stealing (my laptop) was always strapped to my back when not in use.

When I moved out of dorms, I did have a few instances of getting locked out…but luckily with 7 other roommates, there was usually someone home to let me in. In my last year when I lived alone, I simply stopped locking my door when I was out. Probably not the best practice, but luckily nothing bad ever came of it.

In France, I had the most impressive set of keys: A purple one to open the door to the building. A green one for my mailbox. A silver one for the door to the apartment. And an enormous old fashioned-style key for my bedroom door. And I could never ever keep track of them. My mantra before leaving the house became: keys? wallet? phone? check.


It didn’t help that the door to our apartment was so old and temperamental that sometimes it would become stuck and inoperable even with keys. Because it always seemed to be me getting locked out, I was always the one who had to call the landlady to fix it. Those phone calls never ended well. They don’t teach the words for doorjamb, hinge, knob, and latch in school…

I’ve gotten slightly better at keeping track of my keys now. They tend to live in my coat pocket that I wear everyday, so I always know where I can find them. But sometimes I do wonder about why we spend so much time locking our doors and keeping people out, when it seems to me, in life, we should strive for the opposite. ❂



Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.

9 thoughts on “keys. wallet. phone. ✓

  1. First off, what a beautiful set of keys you had in France! I think I’d be more inclined not to forget those. A going out mantra is key (Ha!). I’m notorious for forgetting essential things. Maybe, like you said in your last line, deep down we’re just trying to live out lives where we don’t shut everyone out.


  2. My husband never leaves the house without saying, “keys, wallet, watch.” He doesn’t care so much about the phone (he still uses a flip phone:). I like your idea of letting others in, rather than focusing on locking others out. Maybe someday….


  3. I live just outside a small town. The front door and the slider are always locked when we leave. The door into the garage, and the one into the house from the garage, never, unless my husband is out of town.
    I was raised on a farm, we never locked a door, and left the keys in all vehicles at all times.


  4. Mostly my trouble with keys is taking them with me. I have a push button start on my car, but of course the key fob must be with me. If I don’t need to unlock the house door, I don’t have the keys in my hand so I don’t put them on the hook where they belong. I can never remember where they are! Love the picture of your colorful keys.


    1. You reminded me of the song I Got Plenty o’ Nuthin’ from Porgy and Bess, where Porgy sings, “The folks with plenty of plenty got a lock on the door. Afraid somebody is gonna rob em while they out making more. What for?”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never left the keys in the house…but have gotten locked out of my car before! My son would be jealous of your old skeleton key, even more so that you had to use it to enter your room. There is something more substantial and romantic about those keys than our modern day ones.


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