The key wouldn’t come out of the ignition. It was trapped and so was I.
The key wouldn’t come out of the ignition.
It was trapped and so was I.
I didn’t want to force it. If it broke off in the ignition, I’d really be stuck.
Such a minor misfortune, yet the ramifications were quite serious.
Someone could steal the car, for instance.
The owner’s manual actually pointed this out under the heading:
“An unlocked car is an invitation to thieves. Always remove key from ignition and lock all doors when leaving the vehicle unattended.”
I nodded in agreement to myself as I scanned the remaining 388 pages for any advice on what to do if the key refused to budge from the ignition.
Maybe something under the heading:
“If your key gets stuck in the ignition, you should really try and figure out a way to remove it. If you leave it in there unattended, you’re just issuing an invitation to thieves. And you know thieves, they love to get invited to places.”
But the manual remained silent on the topic, though I did learn that the ignition’s full name was “ignition cylinder.” Now that I knew its surname, I could write a letter to it but I still didn’t have a clue as to how I could break its bond with the key.
I opened the door and was pelted with the shrill audio ping, ping, ping indicating that I had left the key in the ignition.
I felt compelled to respond.
“It’s your fault I can’t remove the key so shut up.”
“Ping, ping, ping,” the car replied until I closed the door.
It should be pointed out that I was home, in my own driveway, when I opted to risk issuing an “invitation to thieves.”
All I needed to do was turn off the radio, make sure all the lights were off, etc., and I could leave the car, come back in the morning reinvigorated by supper, sleep and breakfast, ready to do battle once again with the recalcitrant key.
It was easy to convince myself of the soundness of this move.
Ten or so hours later I left the house, pleased to see that no thieves had acted on my invitation to drive off in my car.
I reentered my vehicle, and turned the ignition.
The car sort of hiccupped and then remained silent. As Charles Dickens would put it, the battery was as dead as a doornail.
Yes, I had turned off the radio, and all lights, but I had left my phone charger in the lighter with my cell phone attached.
The car was dead but the phone was vibrant with life.
I was so irritated I turned the key off without thinking and it came right out of the ignition cylinder.
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.