For my day job, I work at two libraries. One has a small staff, while the other is just me. I was closing up at the one person library today when I noticed that I was missing something important: my keys.
After about a half hour of searching, I discover that the keys had fallen into the space between the desk, and the wall. Unfortunately, this space is so narrow that I can barely fit my hand, never mind my arm. And the desk? It’s bolted to the ground and can’t be moved.
After convincing myself not to panic, I begin to search for a proper tool to retrieve my keys. I grab Great Apes, a long skinny book that can fit between the wall and the desk. Unfortunately, this only results in pushing the keys further down into the gap and getting them stuck more soundly. Now the keys are too far away to reach with my ruler. I soon realize what I really need is a wire coat hanger, and although the library is filled with many mysterious objects, a coat hanger is not one of them. Therefore, I decide to seek out help.
Fortunately, this tiny library is located in a small town where pretty much everyone knows (or knows of) everyone else, so having a librarian come up to you and ask “can I borrow a wire coat hanger?” is less creepy than it seems. My first bet is a corner store a block down the street. They don’t have any hangers for sale but let me borrow a spare set of salad tongs. I try them out and discover that I really need something longer and skinnier. While returning the salad tongs, I happen to notice the post mistress playing her ukulele in front of the post office. I ask if she has anything suitable, and although she makes an effort, we can’t find anything sturdy enough. A customer comes in and suggests that I detach the antenna on my car and bend it, but the thought of having to pay to fix anything else in my car fills me with unease.
While at the post office, a gentleman who does window displays throughout town happens to stop by. Lo and behold he has a big bag filled with long, skinny, fake flowers! He hands me a fake lilac and I run back down the street. I try and watch in horror as the keys fall even further down! I try again and managed to hook onto the keys well enough to drag them within reach. After all the running around I did, it feels like a real victory.
So the lesson learned? Fake flowers make good tools, and your local Post office is a great place do go when you’re in distress. That and be careful where you leave your keys.