I stared at the reflection of myself on the glass window for what seemed over fifteen minutes, and all that I saw was a face filled with disbelief and frustration. There I was, standing on the corner of 35th and 5th Avenue in freezing cold weather completely mortified, feeling as if all the luminous lights of New York City were shining on me in the spotlight of shame. I had committed one of the age-old sins of driving: a sheer rookie mistake. I had locked my car keys inside my trunk.
To explain myself, I should start by saying that ever since I first sat shotgun in my uncle’s 1997 Green Honda Civic, I have always yearned to drive a car. As the years progressed I went from practicing driving with a Fisher Price Jeep 4x4 around my block to handling a Nissan Maxima down I-95. In each instance, the rushing of adrenaline feeling that I savored from driving was mutual and can only be described by Andrew Malcolm’s quote, “a driver is a king on a vinyl bucket-seat throne, changing direction with the turn of a wheel, changing the climate with a flick of a button, changing the music with the switch of a dial.” But on that Manhattan corner, I was a dethroned king thrown from his kingdom because of his foolishness.
After gawking at my car to know avail, I went through a list of possibilities to successfully retrieve my keys. I sat down on the hood of my car and contemplated on the idea of breaking the window and hot-wiring the car. Such an option just wasn’t viable enough. However, after scrolling through the internet on my phone, I came across a page on Google search, that led to a link to a Yahoo answers page which suggested that I call a locksmith. However, after I read the price quote, that suggestion was no longer feasible: what could they possibly do that would cost me $205? That inquisition led to my next brilliant idea, and so for the next fifteen minutes, I explored the wonders of YouTube and continuously watched videos of locksmiths popping open car doors; the ambitious side of me thought, “I can definitely do this.”
With a little improvisation, I meticulously concocted a solution to my problem. For supplies, I rummaged through a nearby tourist gift shop and bought two “I heart NY” soccer balls, a hanger, and borrowed a ball pump. I took the soccer balls and wedged them in between the crack that I was able to make from pulling the door. With that, I began to inflate the soccer balls. The entire thing could have been a scene from “Gone in Sixty Seconds.” To my pleasant surprise, it was working! The inflation of the soccer balls created a small gap in the crack that allowed me to tick the hanger inside and unlock the door. The car alarm blared, but never was such a sound so soothing. I climbed into the back seat and folded the seats down to unveil the small entry into the trunk. I placed my feet on the dashboard and squeezed my way through the hole. With my right hand I reached out and immediately I felt mesh cloth, quickly realizing that it was my basketball jersey. I reached further and my fingers came upon cold metal, evoking a feeling of relief.
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