Lost keys not found

#221 in true experiences in real estate
November 1997, Hills Newspapers

It was a most embarrassing moment. I’ve never lost a house key before but this one seemed truly to be gone. An hour or so earlier I’d been talking to Nancy, an agent friend, who had just listed a cabin-like house in Oakland’s Montclair neighborhood. Nancy said that it was definitely worth the journey to the top of Broadway Terrace to see it.

“Adorable, really; you’ll see, you won’t be disappointed,” she’d encouraged. And so Anet and I drove to “the top of the world” as my children call it, where many of their friends live.

Nancy was right. The house was quite delightful. It looks like summer cabins I have known at Tahoe or Lake County, with knotty pine walls, softwood floors, an oversized fireplace for burning huge logs, tall trees outside. We walked around inside, commented to one another about the good staging, read the termite report, and walked out the front door. Anet had the lockbox in her hand. She’d been carrying it around with her since she’d opened it and handed me the key contained inside.

I had unlocked the front door and put the key into the pocket of my cardigan sweater. I reached now into my pocket where I’d placed it along with a few business cards and a Kleenex. The key was not there.

“Oh no. Oh, no,” I cried. I took everything out of the pocket. I checked my other pockets. Nothing.

Anet said, “It’s got to be here. Maybe it fell out.”

“I did use the bathroom,” I said, walking quickly there. I searched on the floor, got down on my hands and knees to look. Nothing. We walked around the house, into each room, looked on the floors, on the counters.

“I did hear a clink of metal while I was in the bathroom,” I said quietly. “But I thought it was from the metal on my belt. The key couldn’t have gone down the toilet. Could it?”

We went back to the bathroom to examine the toilet, looked inside, discussed the possibilities of the key going down. Then we tried making the sweater pocket turn upside down to allow a key to fall out. “It just doesn’t seem possible,” Anet said. “The key would be too heavy, wouldn’t it?”

Then she said, “This is hilarious.”

“I don’t think it’s funny,” I said.

“But think about it. What are the chances of this happening?” Anet was laughing.

“Yeah, I guess so. But it’s gone. Thank goodness the house is vacant and that it’s Nancy’s listing.”

Anet called from the car and learned that there was an extra key in the office. We could go get it, make a copy, return the office key, and bring the new one back to the house. We drove to Nancy’s office on Solano Avenue in Berkeley with Anet giggling. “Amazing. You couldn’t have done this if you’d planned it. Hee, hee, hee.” I didn’t laugh.

Nancy and other agent friends greeted us. Everyone wanted to hear the whole story. They wanted to check my pockets themselves. They wanted to tell key stories too.

Terese said she’d lost a key once. She was with clients showing them several houses. They’d looked at one and were about to leave when she realized the key which she was sure had been in her hand since they’d entered wasn’t there anymore. The clients helped her look but the key wasn’t to be found. She told her clients that she needed a few minutes alone to think. She sat quietly in the living room and went over in her mind everything she’d done in that house. She was able then to go directly to the spot where she had laid down the key.

Nancy told about losing a key once when she was showing a house. That one was found by a most gracious listing agent who, when she heard there was a problem, immediately drove over to help search. The key had fallen between some decking in the yard.

There were other stories: Locked out with clients on a second floor porch when a door blew closed, and several in which the key was in hand but was of no use because the lock wouldn’t work.

We drove back to the house and looked around again but we did not find the key. We said that this house has a good toilet.

This entry was posted in Humor. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

  • Sign up to receive our newspaper columns: