I've lost my keys, am stuck inside, and not sure what to do.
December 18, 2007 4:03 PM   Subscribe

I seem to have lost my keys. I wish it were just that simple.

Yesterday evening I came home from work. I went to unlock my inside door, only to find that the tumbler that was progressively getting looser, had finally tumbled. I called my landlord, the emergency line for the property management, and two locksmiths. I was eventually able to get one locksmith to come out. He sprayed and toggled some stuff, and wrote up a bill for $90 (I will be submitting the bill to my landlord for reimbursement). The locksmith left.

I then stepped outside to empty the garbage. I am *pretty* sure I didn't bring my keys with me. I attempted to go back inside, only to discover that my fixed door lock now automatically locks when the door shuts. I was locked out again, this time entirely my fault.

I spent a half an hour with my upstairs neighbors, where we schemed plans to shimmy down the bathroom chute. Called the landlord and the property management co. again. No avail. Eventually my upstairs neighbor found 1 spare key in the basement. He unlocked my door and let me in.

Stupidly, I went and did other things, assuming that I had left my keys indoors the whole time.

Now, today, I have been attempting to leave my apartment for the last three hours, but I cannot find my dang keys! Naturally, I think I've looked everywhere.

I'm not sure at this point what I should do. My landlord and the property management company still hasn't called me back–which is very typical of them. I don't want to bug my upstairs neighbor again (for the key they found yesterday)–partly because I'm embarrassed and also because the relationship between them and myself has been stressful since I've moved in (2 months ago).

None of this matters however, because the keychain contains 5 keys to the building, only ONE of which lets you in from the outside (and that one is actually a "credit card" that needs to be programmed–my landlord also charges a hefty fee for replacement...not that I can seem to get a hold of him anyway).

Seriously, what is my smartest option here? I can't seem to think clearly and I feel very trapped.
posted by iamkimiam to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and all the remaining keys (from the missing keychain) are absolutely necessary to have/replace as well. This apt. is like the basement in Silence of the Lambs. Only brighter.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:05 PM on December 18, 2007

Best answer: You're forgetting something you did with the keys. Probably because you don't normally do it. Retrace every step you can think of. Did you go in a weird closet, wear pants or a jacket that you don't normally wear?

This happened to me yesterday with car keys and it turned out I had taken two keys off the ring, which made it lighter, and I had also put it in my jacket pocket, which I never do. They were so light I didn't feel them in the pocket.

If you just can't find them, you have to bug the upstairs neighbor again. And then you have to leave an extra key with a friend if at all possible.
posted by GaelFC at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2007

Best answer: I'm tempted to say "they're on top of the fridge", but you probably don't wanna hear that.

Assuming you have torn the place apart inside already, you should probably call the locksmith again (or another one) and get at least the minimum keys replaced so that you can leave the apartment to go look for the missing ones. And the bill for this extra work is almost certainly your problem, not your landlords. As you say "this time, entirely my fault."

Or, call a friend to come sit in your place while you search the building/trash?

And a longshot: maybe it's just glossed over in your statement above, but it's not clear that you ever actually HAD the keys in hand when the locksmith left. Did the locksmith take them by accident?
posted by rokusan at 4:12 PM on December 18, 2007

Response by poster: And a longshot: maybe it's just glossed over in your statement above, but it's not clear that you ever actually HAD the keys in hand when the locksmith left. Did the locksmith take them by accident?

That's what I'm wondering! I figure that the keys are either inside the apartment, or outside. Obviously. I guess I'm not sure how to base my next actions because I can't gauge the probability of them being in or out. And the "cost" for both is pretty high. Calling a locksmith to replace my front door key also necessitates me calling my landlord to replace the key card, as well as the other 3 keys. I am POSITIVE that I won't be able to get my landlord to take care of this tonight, and I need to go to work tomorrow.

It's also very embarrassing, which I can't seem to get over.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:17 PM on December 18, 2007

Best answer: Get over the embarrassment. Several months ago, I was locked out of my house while in my pajamas, in hot weather, unshowered, without my hearing aid. Oh, and I had just moved to the (suburban) neighborhood, so I didn't know anyone, and it was a weekday morning, so most people had already left for work. A lady visiting her elderly father stepped outside for a smoke, so I had to ask her to call my fiance at his workplace (I couldn't hear on the phone without my hearing aid). He had to leave a business meeting to come rescue me.

Now that was embarrassing. And I hope that makes you feel a little bit better.

To your situation:
1. Just accept that you'll be stuck paying the replacement fee. It'll be a nice surprise if you do, in fact, find your keys.
2. Accept that your upstairs neighbor is going to think you're a little flaky. Shrug it off, bake him/her some cookies, ask to keep the spare key overnight so's you can go to work.
3. Judging from your profile, you have cats. Cats do stupid things with shiny objects. Did they bat the keys under the couch or fridge?
4. Call the locksmith who came out yesterday. Don't accuse him of taking your keys, but ask if they *found* your keys.
posted by desjardins at 4:41 PM on December 18, 2007 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You can put some duct tape over the hole where the latch (is that the right word?) springs into. Or obstruct the hole in some other way. That would mean your door is effectively unlocked all day, but perhaps that's a compromise you're willing to live with till things are sorted out. You should be able to test this from the inside before you go out.
posted by jclovebrew at 4:42 PM on December 18, 2007

Response by poster: OH. MY. GOD! HAHAHAHA. Thank you Rokusan for the suggestion. It turns out that the locksmith hung them on this high-up hook behind my front door...and didn't tell me! Gah! So glad I called him (wasn't sure if I would be calling him to have him come out to make new keys for all my locks or what)! I'm super short, so I would have NEVER thought to look up there (as it was, I didn't even KNOW there was a hook up there, until the locksmith described where he left the keys).

Sheesh. Figuring out the logistics of tomorrow was already starting to completely kerfluffle me. So glad its solved. Now I can finally go buy starving cats some cat food.

Thanks for those who responded.

Lamest askme ever.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:44 PM on December 18, 2007

Lamest askme ever.

Um, no. I beat you again.
posted by desjardins at 4:48 PM on December 18, 2007

Just FWIW, for me, this is not at all lame. It's not any of the usual relationship bullshit, nor a "which of foo" should I buy, and to top it off, it's something we can all relate to.
posted by wierdo at 5:22 PM on December 18, 2007 [5 favorites]

Get copies made of as many of the keys as you can (maybe not the credit card one, but you should be able to call a neighbor to let you in if you make nice with them) and stash them with someone near by. I always say you don't have to like your neighbors, but you should probably make friends with at least one of them.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:54 PM on December 18, 2007

I once locked myself out of my apartment three times - in six weeks. It was unbelievable. Each time, I knew, as I was shutting the door behind me, that my keys were on the inside, and I was on the outside. Click. Shit.

By the third time I called the locksmith, he laughed (nicely), and only charged me a half-fee. After that, I gave spare keys to a whole bunch of friends, figuring that the next time I locked myself out, someone, somewhere, would be home, and have my spare key.

I stopped locking myself out after that. *knocks wood*
posted by rtha at 6:00 PM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

At least they weren't in the garbage. I did that the other day. I had to pick through the entire garbage can *twice* (I somehow missed them the first time) searching the house for an hour before each dive into the trash. Consider yourself (semi) lucky.
posted by nursegracer at 7:02 PM on December 18, 2007

Put this on your Christmas list: key ringer. These kinds of things have magical powers, and just having one on the premises will probably stop you from losing your keys in the future. Once I bought one of those lock boxes you stick in your car's wheel well to hold an extra key, I stopped locking my keys in the car. And the lock box is still in its box, in my basement somewhere - never even made it on to the car.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:23 PM on December 18, 2007 [2 favorites]

This brought a warm fuzzy glow to me.

About a year ago, my partner returned home from the gym and plopped down into a chair, tired. A few minutes later she said "Hm, I don't know where my keys are"

"Don't be silly" I replied. "You just drove home, and you've only been in the bedroom. How far away could they be?"

We never saw them again, and it was a pretty hefty bunch of keys. We tore the place apart, and every now and then I think I will look somewhere that has just escaped my attention and there they will be. I can only guess that they fell into a bin and were thrown out, but even that makes little sense, as we checked thoroughly.

I can't believe ask.metafilter found someone's keys.
posted by tomble at 10:07 PM on December 18, 2007

Oh, and just to make you feel better...look at this. (SFW, but has sound/dialogue)
posted by Wilder at 11:14 PM on December 18, 2007

For those who come later: My partner can't find the opening in a paper bag. His main problem: he fails to look UNDER things. Just in case someone else can't find their keys/wallet/ whatever.
posted by Goofyy at 12:51 AM on December 19, 2007

Not lame. Great thread with great answers and suggestions... plus Victory!! Whee!

tomble, I guess you looked in things like boots and shoes that were in the bedroom closet but haven't been worn? I'm feeling a vibration... they're in the Wellies!!!
posted by taz at 4:45 AM on December 19, 2007

It's a great askme, actually. And to make you feel better, I locked myself out of my apartment TWICE on Christmas Eve about 4 years ago. The second time was around midnight, and I was going to need to leave by 5am to catch a early flight. It was bad, bad, bad.
posted by kimdog at 7:31 AM on December 19, 2007

I'm glad AskMe came to your rescue!

I just wanted to add my lock/key stupidity story. I locked my keys in my running car twice in as many years. At the time, I didn't really have a support network, and my wife was at work/school, too far to walk to. Also, we're a one-car family.

Moral: don't feel bad, we've all done silly things with our keys/locks.
posted by owtytrof at 8:22 AM on December 19, 2007

My favorite missing-key story? I come back from the grocery store. Set the large package of toilet paper on the floor, go to put away the groceries. Come back out to discover the kitten has shredded her way into the TP package and is having the time of her life making confetti. Put the TP away in the proper cabinet.

Next day, can't find my keys for the life of me, Search high, low, in the fridge, etc. Finally remember the TP incident, pull out the package, and - sure enough - they're nestled in between the rolls.

Apparently I'd set them down on top of the TP when I put it on the floor, and the kitten hand managed to pull them in with her. She's a talented little bugger, I'll give her that.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:51 AM on December 19, 2007

I locked my keys in my running car twice in as many years

I only did this once, but I managed to compound the humiliation. I went to pick up a friend I hadn't seen in years and was so excited to see her that I locked the keys in my running car right in front of her apartment. Then I had to borrow money from her (to pay the locksmith), then I forgot my PIN at the ATM when I tried to pay her back later that day. Plus she had to pay for lunch. (I paid her back the next day.)
posted by desjardins at 11:12 AM on December 19, 2007

As a long-term strategy, develop two skills:
1. Keep your keys in a consistent place (ie, pocket/purse) and while your hand is on the door knob on your way out, tap your pocket/purse to hear them jingle. Don't hear anything? Stop and find your keys.
2. Learn how to pick locks and hide a lock pick set in a zip lock bag nearby.

Alternatively, use a hide-a-key in an appropriately obscure place.
posted by plinth at 2:13 PM on December 19, 2007

« Older Does Hollywood Want Us To Be Scabs?   |   Availability of B&W photographic film and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.