A few weeks ago, I had to get keys made.
This post will be riveting. No, really. Stay with me.
So, I go to one of those old hardware stores, the kind that look like they’ve been around since The Dawn of When Man Declared He Would Need A Place to Buy Nails. Everything inside is cluttered and dusty, there’s a strange coo-coo clock on the wall that sings when I push open the 80 lb door.
The little shop is narrow and filled to the brim with Things, keys and business cards and nails and ancient, yellowing advertisements. The man behind the counter is old, lean and purely no-nonsense. He gives me a grunt from behind the counter and when I smile and tell him that I need a few keys made, he grunts again and holds out a hand for the keys.
He takes them and I notice the little index card that’s hanging over the register. CASH ONLY. I wince as he leans over the key-maker and I say, hesitantly, that I need to come back with cash. “I’m going to the supermarket,” I tell him and I point across the street to the massive supermarket, like maybe he never leaves his store and didn’t realize there was a jumbo-mart- right there! The whole time! Well, snip my whiskers!
He grunts again and just hands me back the keys. I do a major food-shop, remember the Cash-Back option and hurry back to the store, this time laden with bags.
The man doesn’t acknowledge me. He’s hunched over the counter and scowling at nothing when I walk in. Still, I smile and say, “Me again!” And I hand him the keys.
He makes the keys and starts to ring me up. $15 for six keys. Inwardly, I wince and wonder if the new dog walker could just climb through my 3rd story window every day instead. I’m about to hand over my $20 when I notice the key tags for sale in the display. I point to them. “Can I have two of those too please?”
He grumbles, “What color?” And I shrug and tell him to choose, it made no difference to me. He scowls down at the array of multi-colored key tags and then grabs a yellow one, saying, “You look like a yellow kind of girl to me.”
I’m so surprised that I let out a little laugh. He rings me up and hands me the bag and says gruffly, “You keep smiling now.”
I thank him and leave. I’m sorry if this post sounds like something your aunt would forward you but I’m just still amazed how somebody, anybody can surprise you.
All photos from this collection. Scroll through and be amazed.