On Saturday my friends Justin Kaufmann, Mark Bazer, John Green, Steve Delahoyde and I performed at a memorial commemorating our late friend Amy Krouse Rosenthal (AKR), who is held dear in her friends' and family's and fans' hearts. I originally was going to present something that involved audio from Writers Block Party, the show she hosted on WBEZ but then I lost my car keys WHILE I drove my son 3 miles to daycare on Friday. I had put them on the roof like a total cliche and they'd slid off--during a thunderstorm. Steve had another key to the car but he and Paul were camping 3 hours away in Wisconsin and had terrible cell reception to boot.
This happened at 8:30 so my car was stuck, locked, with its blinkers on a busy street. I called two separate two trucks (to take me to the dealer to get a replacement key made): the first one couldn't tow the car because it was locked and not in neutral. I called the second one at 12:30 to see if maybe they could send a fancier tow truck that could figure this out and they said they'd come at 2 although by 3 they still hadn't arrived.
During the time I spent waiting for two trucks I retraced my steps by walking, in very impractical Adidas slide sandals (what I wore to drive James to daycare), the route to and from daycare. One reason I needed to get back was that the CD of my radio appearance was in the car so I was like "If you're up there, Amy, help me find my keys."
I didn't find my keys but I did find 5 other sets of keys and someone's debit card, the latter of which I picked up to perhaps put in a mailbox -- even better, on my walk I happened to walk by a Chase bank and dropped it off. I thought maybe I could gain some good karma this way.
When I was about to give up and just wait for Steve to come home (it turned out the dealership would take days to replace my key, so thank god I didn't get towed there, across town on a Chicago summer Friday afternoon) my dad said he was going to help me find my key. I was a little frustrated because I didn't know what he could do that I hadn't done already, but it was ultimately his idea that I try the closest local police department. There they were--a bicyclist had found them and turned them in. By this time it was 4 PM so I just got James and headed straight to my local favorite kid friendly wine shop for a celebratory frose even though I was wearing the clothes I'd rolled out of bed in that morning to drop off James and also had walked through a thunderstorm in the search process (did I mention that part?)
On the way to the wine shop, I was so full of gratitude that the day didn't end with me having to pay several hundred bucks for a new key or having to go to the car dealer or possibly stranding James at daycare or just feeling like a real idiot for a long time, that I called my parents. I wanted my mom to hear, on the record, that the reason why I found the keys was dad.
I retold the story above and mentioned the part about how I found that lady's ATM card. That was the first time I said or thought "ATM" in this whole scenario.
This is ATM, according to AKR:
So on Saturday night at the party kicking off a lovely AKR exhibition, I just told that story instead of playing the CDs as planned.
I confess I didn't go in much for ATM when I first heard about it, but as you can imagine I have a newfound respect for it now. More practically, it was very gratifying and humbling to be the recipient of a stranger doing a stranger a favor. I hope I recognize opportunities to be able to do the same for someone else. ATM!