Where the hell are my keys?
October 25, 2014 2:40 PM   Subscribe

I lost my keys somewhere in a very narrow geographic area yesterday, and I have no clue what could have happened. Can the hivemind think of anyplace in my path I might not have looked, or have any idea what might have happened? Steps retraced below the fold.

I picked up my keys and stuck them in my pants pocket on the way out the door to do laundry yesterday. I specifically remember checking my pocket for them, because I'd been locked out once earlier in the week and didn't want to repeat that. The last thing I remember doing with the keys is using them to lock the front door behind me. I was wearing a coat with deep pockets and carrying a mostly-empty backpack, in addition to the laundry bags.

I then walked two blocks down my street to the laundromat, where I dropped my laundry off for fluff and fold. I laid the bags out in front of me, the owners weighed them on their scale, and I took cash out of their ATM to pay them.

A couple feet outside the laundromat, I happened to put my hand in my pocket and realized the keys weren't there. Hmm. I checked my other pants pocket, my coat pockets, and the outer side pockets on my backpack (the kind where you might put a water bottle.) No keys.

My first thought was that I'd left the keys in the door to my apartment instead of pocketing them again (I've done this before) , so I walked back to my building, where my first floor neighbor let me in. Walked up to my apartment on the third floor. No keys. Walked down the stairs, looking to see if they'd fallen on the floor. No keys.

Okay, I think, maybe they ended up on the table at the laundromat somewhere. I head back that way, head down to the ground the whole time to see if I'd dropped the keys on the sidewalk. No luck. At the laundromat, I thoroughly looked over the table top where I'd put the bags down, the floor, the top of the ATM. I ask the owner if he'd found any keys or had any turned in. Nothing. I also took this time to empty the contents of the main body of my backpack to see if I'd thrown them in there. Nope. After a little more pacing around looking on the sidewalk, I gave up and went out to dinner.

After dinner, I watched the laundromat owners shake out my clothes as they folded them and didn't see anything drop out. Today I put away the laundry, taking the time to feel through all the pants pockets as I went. Nothing.

I did go to other places between picking up the laundry and going home to bed, but I assume the keys went missing somewhere earlier in the day than that.

I have my extra keys now, but wondering about this is driving me crazy, plus I'm wondering if someone with bad intentions could have picked the keys up at any point.

Possibly relevant details
-The only keys on the ring were the ones to my front door and my apartment. No additional keys, no store cards or anything. There is nothing with the keys that would tie them to my address.
-My building only has three units. The first floor neighbor who let me in hadn't seen keys around. I didn't see the second floor people at all that day, though I know vaguely who they are.
-The stretch between my house and the laundromat is commercial, with moderate foot traffic for much of the day and people loitering sometimes.

Hope me, please!
posted by ActionPopulated to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is the ATM one that plugs into the wall? Could they have slid off the top behind the ATM?
posted by salvia at 2:44 PM on October 25, 2014

Is there a hole in your pocket so the keys slipped between the inner lining and the outer fabric?
posted by cooker girl at 2:50 PM on October 25, 2014 [7 favorites]

Look in your refrigerator.
posted by blob at 3:12 PM on October 25, 2014 [9 favorites]

Maybe the laundry bags? I would also check at the laundromat again, just to see if maybe they were in a laundry bag and fell out or slid across their counter somehow. It may take a day or two for something like this to be noticed.
posted by Woodroar at 3:21 PM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Were there any variations at all from your usual routine? Did you do anything at all, no matter how small, that you do not do 100% of the time in the time between when you know you had them (when you picked them up and put them in your pocket, right?) and when you realized they were missing? That's what I'd think very hard about.
posted by the big lizard at 3:22 PM on October 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Was there a moment when you were like "argh, I have so much stuff to carry, this is all a huge mess" or "hmm, something doesn't feel right, am I forgetting something?"
posted by salvia at 3:27 PM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do you have any hole in your coat pocket? They may have fallen into the body of the coat.

Also, look on craigslist lost and found and ask in every business along the way.
posted by Riverine at 3:46 PM on October 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Have you checked the nearest police station? Or all businesses along the route? If you dropped them, someone may have picked them up and handed them in either at the nearest shop or taken them to a police station
posted by missmagenta at 3:47 PM on October 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Check to see if your coat has torn linings in the pockets or elsewhere. Feel to see if the keys could have fallen between the lining and the body of the coat.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:50 PM on October 25, 2014

Have a friend double check the garments you had on. I've gotten soo distraught over lost keys I've completely overlooked them when they were tucked deep in a pocket.
posted by cestmoi15 at 3:55 PM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

They might've fallen out of your pocket when you were walking. I've had credit cards or keys squeeze out of my pockets from the movement of me walking for a while. (These are jean pockets and I am a lady, so they fit somewhat snug.) One time I lost my keys literally walking from my car up to my third floor apartment. I traced my steps over and over and over and I couldn't find them. Then, by the time I had already called my landlord to let me into my apartment, I found the keys and fallen and hooked onto a little nail sticking outside the door frame. Of course I checked the ground/floor, but I didn't look at the door frame.

Also, one time I left my keys going through a security check point into a government building. I picked up all my stuff out of the little scanner, but accidentally left my keys. The guards had them and knew someone left them there, but didn't know who they belonged to. From that point forward, I added a tag with my name and cell phone number on them. (I've ensured my cell phone can't be traced to my address.) That reaped immediate benefits for me as a couple months later, I left my keys in the bathroom at my office and a co-worker found them and brought them to me. You could potentially put just a phone number there with no name so they won't know who you are, if you wanted.

It's unlikely, if someone found your keys, that the person knows where you live. But personally, for my own piece of mind, I'd probably pay $50 or whatever and get a new lock to my apartment.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:09 PM on October 25, 2014

Start with where you first noticed they were missing. Literally go to that spot and work backwards from there.
posted by trip and a half at 4:50 PM on October 25, 2014

On a more careful reading of the question, go back to the laundromat and search UNDER the machines. I once lost a house-key that way. You may need a coat-hanger to fish them out, but there certainly will be one at the laundromat.
posted by trip and a half at 4:59 PM on October 25, 2014

Also check thoroughly the area around the ATM.
posted by trip and a half at 5:05 PM on October 25, 2014

Did you take your wallet out to pay for the clothes when you were at the laundromat, and were the keys in the same pocket as your wallet? It's possible that when you took your wallet out, the keys got forcibly pulled out along with it, and skittered under a washing machine.

Or - have you looked IN your wallet for the keys?

As to whether there would be concern - I really, really doubt it. I lost a huge set of keys once on the subway - it contained keys to not just my apartment but two theaters - and I don't think a single one of us changed the locks, nor were there any problems.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:07 PM on October 25, 2014

Did you literally shake out your backpack, all coat pockets & pants pockets? Not just dig through but turn upside down and completely empty? I lose my keys at times and when I'm paranoid I end up moving my keys from pocket to pocket and "lose" them there.
posted by oneear at 5:36 PM on October 25, 2014

Perhaps when you took your wallet out of your pocket, the keys popped out and somehow made it into the laundry. Go back to the laundromat and check inside the machines. If they are front loaders, check under the big rubber gaskets that seal the doors. Stuff can get caught in there.
posted by oxisos at 5:53 PM on October 25, 2014

Is there any grass along the area where you walk? I've lost a set of keys that fell into grass before and never heard a clinking sound, and in retracing my steps very slowly walked on top of them and felt them under my shoe.
posted by Quarter Pincher at 6:31 PM on October 25, 2014

I have accidentally dropped coins and keys in the turned/rolled cuff of my trouser leg before.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:28 AM on October 26, 2014

I would check craiglist's lost and found for your area, and consider putting up a post yourself with a brief description of the keys.

A similar thing happened to me, only it was my engagement ring not my keys. I was 100% positive I had dropped it on a sidewalk on a very specific block less than an hour before my search began, but a very thorough review of the area revealed nothing.

Finally, out of desperation, I put an add on craigslist asking if anyone had found 'a ring' on that block, and within 24 hours someone had emailed me saying they found a ring exactly meeting my description that their kid had found it and brought it home.

So, people just pick things up off the street. If I saw keys on the road and no obvious owner in the vicinity, I would do the same, and given my historical success, I would check craigslist to find the owners.
posted by CharlieSue at 6:29 AM on October 26, 2014

Caught on the outside of your laundry bag or similar. This happened with my gym bag. I looked in my bag, and I looked under my bag, but I never checked the bottom, and every time I picked it up to look under the keys went with the bag...
posted by anaelith at 7:09 AM on October 26, 2014

There's a park in my old neighborhood with lots of activity, and if you find a set of keys the unspoken tradition is to hang or nestle them at eye level on the trunk of the neaxrest palm tree. Check newspaper boxes or other places someone could have left them for you. Check every nook and cranny at the laundromat for sure, and do check the grass if there is any en route because I've also found that fell into the grass during a run. Oh, and I had something key-like once fall through a hole in my pocket and into the hem of my coat. I think I noticed when I sat down on it.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:43 AM on October 26, 2014

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