First things first: I went with black pants, a shiny green shirt, and heels I could take off when I got there with bare feet (since I got a pedicure on Saturday)
I left my town at about 5:45 and arrived around 6:15, planning to only stay an hour, and carpooled with a friend who wanted to get home in time to tuck her kids in. Perfect, right?
My hostess's husband was there, rearranging and moving cars, and offered to move mine.
Since I hadn't taken my coat off yet, I offered to do it myself.
He said he'd do it, that I should go in and enjoy the party. And you know, my car's really old. It's not like it'd be a huge big deal if he scratched it or something.
So I gave him my keys and headed in to talk to the five people I knew (because really, I seem outgoing, but my M.O. at parties is pretty much to corner people I know or people who look like they know even fewer people than I do and talk with them, one-on-one, until they wander off).
By about 6:45, I had talked with everyone I know, but it was obviously still too soon to leave. My hostess came over to say hello, and we talked for a bit about how beautiful her house is and what she'll do with the room we're standing in. And then she says, "[bzzzzgrrrl], I have a huge dilemma."
People who understand my neuroses better than I can figure out why my first thought was that I was about to be fired from a direct-sales job at a holiday party, but anyway, I just said, "O.K."
And then she was full of apologies, and handed me the pieces of my keys. Bear in mind, my car is old, and my hostess's husband is approximately the same age as said car. He has probably never had to open a car door with a key in his short life. He certainly has probably never seen a car where the ignition key and the door lock key are different. And so he put the ignition key into the door lock and gave it a good twist in the bitter, metal-freezing cold, and snapped it.
Also bear in mind, this party was about half an hour away from my house, and I didn't (and don't) know where my spare key is anyway. Shuttling around to get it is not an option.
Luckily, I have AAA. AAA Plus, in fact, which is totally worth it (and would be a fine last-minute Christmas gift for practically anyone, except someone who already has it). So I called AAA and tried to enjoy the rest of the party, which was lovely (though I was a little worried about my carpool buddy who now can't leave and won't get home to tuck the kids in).
What time would you guess AAA got there?
I mean, you know I'm in the middle of nowhere, so would you guess 45 minutes after I called?
Maybe you'd guess, correctly, that they'd call back after an hour and a half to see how everything was going, and then would be surprised to learn the tow truck hadn't gotten there yet, and then would call back to say it'd be another twenty minutes. Yup.
This party, mind you, was supposed to end at 8:30. Luckily, I am not the only one who doesn't know how to leave a party, and so I was not quite the last guest in the house when the truck finally got there at 9, two hours after I initially called for it, in pretty, swirly, only-slightly-scary snow. My carpool buddy had managed to hitch a ride with someone else about five minutes before that, well after her kids' 8:00 bedtime.
You will be glad to know the couple who drove the tow truck were very nice and really interesting, and I now know a lot about their kids and also what it's like to tow drunk drivers.
I think I might send them a note.
They towed me home, and gave me a ride.
And then the fun began.
Because it took several hours the next morning to figure out how to get a replacement key for a 20-year-old car, without the use of said car.
I called the GM dealership (because there are no Oldsmobile dealerships anymore, because they don't make Oldsmobiles anymore) and asked if they could make me a replacement key.
The guy on the phone explained that GM says it doesn't do keys older than 14 years old, but sometimes he gets lucky, but before he can even search on it, he'd need my license and registration.
When I suggested that I might not want to walk three miles round-trip in the incredibly freezing cold on the off chance he could make a copy of my key, he said I could fax that info to him.
I told him I didn't have a fax machine at home. I did not say, "A fax? Are you kidding? What is this, 1992?" I asked if I could scan and e-mail that info to him instead.
He thought that would be a fine idea, and gave me his e-mail address, which was in the format [creative spelling of diminutive of masculine first name][two-digit number]@yahoo.com. I did not say, "Yahoo? What is this, 1995? You don't have a work account?"
I did (probably unwisely) e-mail those scans and wait a bit, and then called back. I got a different guy on the phone, and had this conversation.
Me: Hi, I called earlier to see if you could make a key for my 20-year-old car, and I just wanted to make sure you all had gotten my e-mail with my license and registration.
Him: We can't make a key that old.
Me: I know, I already talked to someone, he said that sometimes you can make keys older than 14 years. I just wanted to see if he'd gotten my e-mail.
Him: We can't make keys that old.
Me: I already talked to someone who said he'd see if he could.
Him: We can only go back to 1990.
Me: Excellent. My car is a 1990. [But note to self: Get one million copies of this key.]
Him: Oh, yeah, then, we can do that. We'll need your license and registration.
Me: I know. I e-mailed them to the guy I talked to before.
Him: Oh! Yeah, I'll ask [diminutive of masculine first name] if he got that. What's your phone number?
A few minutes later, the phone rang, and it was the second guy I'd talked to.
Him: I don't see that fax.
Me: I didn't send a fax. I e-mailed it.
Him: Oh! OK, I'll see if [diminutive of masculine first name] got that.
A few minutes later, the phone rang again, and it was the first guy I'd talked to.
Him: Yeah, we'll be able to make that key, no problem. But you should know, with a car that old, there's only a 50-50 chance it'll work.
Him: Yeah, if it's ever been broken into, or if they've ever had to replace the ignition tumbler, the key we're making won't work in it.
Me: Oh, good. I'm only the second owner, and the first owner was my grandmother, and I'm almost certain the ignition has never been replaced.
My kindhearted neighbor gave me a lift to pick it up. And it worked.
So, how's your week going?