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.