Monday, October 29, 2007

Unlocking My Life


A person's keys say a lot about them. When I was in undergraduate school my boss at the local pro music store had a key ring with seemingly 40 keys on it. He told me it was a sign of how much responsibility he had in his life. Actually, I think it was more a sign that the owners of the store had a different lock on each of the eight or nine doors to the store, but his point stuck.

This past spring I moved and with the move came the need to go through my key chain with the various key hand-offs. It occurred to me that I had a host of keys I needed rarely, if ever. Keys to places that were multiple time zones away. I decided to create a secondary key chain with those little-needed unlockers. What was left says something of my passions and my daily needs. There's the inevitable car and house keys, and another for mail. And my car needs the now ubiquitous alarm/remote lock fob for entry and exit. On a daily basis, that's it. So what's left are three accoutrements to cycling and two to alcohol. Hmm.

I first saw a Campy shift lever used as a fob for a keyring when I worked in a shop with this incredible climber named Todd. I saw his and marveled at how it remained shiny, nearly polished as a result of cotton pockets and daily handling. He gave me one and when I remarked I didn't want to copy him, he said, "Go ahead; you gotta share the wealth."

The Casino emblem came from a keyring I snatched from the air as it passed my ear at the 1998 Tour de France. Miraculously, no one got elbowed in the incident, me included.

The Richard Sachs chrome dropout bottle opener was a gift from the legend himself. While this might be a little late, in the interest of full disclosure, I consider him a friend and if you were expecting proper investigative journalism in our interview a la Time Magazine ... well I'm probably not the guy for the job.

The discount card to a wine store and the bottle opener are reminders that there is--on occasion--more to life than the bike. So three keys, three tributes to cycling and two means to attain alcohol, it's an odd collection to be sure.

Lots of people are prone to fiddling with their keys when they are anxious. I'm no different. Here's the thing I wasn't thinking about when I started this little meditation. When I'm walking to or from my car, I'm apt to play with my keys and what my fingers find comfort in are the contours of that Campagnolo shift lever. As my fingers curl around it, there's a pleasant mass to it; it's easy to find amid the jagged serrations of the keys and with its rounded profile, there's nothing surprising in its feel. It is a key of its own. That hunk of aluminum unlocks one of the most important parts of my life and reminds me that beyond my daily responsibilities there is a metaphoric cable at the end of that lever, one that pulls me forever outdoors.

14 comments:

d*pow said...

just looking at my own keys, and i see the same campy lever, a new castle bottle opener, and one key each for home, bike, car and work. simple and to the point. there is another campy shift lever at home, at the end of the chain that pulls down the attic steps....

A Godforsaken Wasteland said...

Yep, me too...Campy SR shift lever...it's the business.

Anonymous said...

Bro, how can you stand having all that crap in your pocket?

I go light. Two keys. One car and one house on a small ring.

believre said...

I agree with the anonymous poster above on going light keeping it as simple as possible, but not with his choice of using the word bro.

Come to think of it this is how I approach almost every aspect of my life. So I suppose you're correct "A person's keys say a lot about them."

Art said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

why dont you put the bottle opener on the key ring w/ the alcohol keys?

bikesgonewild said...

...early in my cycling, life before i could afford campagnolo, it was simplex or huret, but the aspiration was always towards campagnolo...an idea worth plagiarizing...

velofreak said...

I still have the huret on my keyring, in fact I have one on each set of keys. I agree that I can't stand too many keys in my pocket, but which car I drive will depend on which car the wife takes. Someday I will aquire a set of campy levers.

Anonymous said...

My nod to cycling on my keychain was a Park spoke wrench. That went away when I started riding with wheels that took various other tools to true (maybe a sign of a too complex life if you have more than one spoke wrench on your keychain).

I have to say the campy shift lever is a nice. I may have to get me one.

flahute said...

With a recent home purchase of my own, I recently went through the same exercise, and pared down mightily.

Home key (same key handles the knob and the deadbolt), car key, mailbox key, and (rarely used) RSA SecurID keyfob which allows me to check my work email from home.

On another ring is the key to my now ex-wife's house and the key to my now ex-housemates' house.

And on a third ring is a duplicate set of keys to the first ring, minus the SecurID fob, but with the addition of a carabiner and Richard Sachs dropout bottle opener (also a gift from the man), and keys to my various bike locks.

The Sporting Life Society said...

Proppers to the sentiment P-DrAig. Being a recycler and sentimentalis myself, my keychain has it's own circle of memories...an old hack-saw blade (used for cutting rims from 700c to 26"-Old School Style), the connecting rod from cylinder #5 of my Big Block Buick 455, the spinal column (wired together of course) from my first elk I shot in Idaho, and the toenail of my big toe that fell off after I stuck a pitchfork through it while mucking out the horse stalls...ah the memories...
Anyhoo-thanks for the walk down Amnesia Lane, Anytown, USA 00123

Oh, and good post by-the-way...keep 'em coming.

-Ol' Sport

C9 said...

Maybe I'm just not picturing it right, but The Sporting Life Society's keychain sounds like the most cumbersome and biologically gruesome keychain I've ever heard of. Cheers to The Sporting Life Society's keychain!

Me? I go the simple route. One house key. One kryptonite key. One car key. And a loop of 8 links of an old campy chain. It adds a nice heft to it all.

joe said...

I don't understand, does everyone take these collections of metal in their jerseys when they ride?

I'm thinking of drilling out my single front door key to take on rides. Maybe even getting a custom anodised Ti key to match my Zero Gravs.

Simple, light, sweet.

Anonymous said...

i love the winehouse