The tragic tale of a hamster and some car keys

I’m a checker. If you’ve read any of my tips on how to land an interview or getting into B2B copywriting, you’ll know I believe there’s a formula for everything. And checking off steps in the process is a satisfying part of that.

Of course, creatives all work differently and what inspires one person will fall flat for another. But usually (at least when you’re getting to grips with a new skill) a formula can help you along the way. And the same can be said for daily life, for me anyway.

The formula for never losing my keys? Constantly checking they’re there. Never losing my ID? Checking it’s back in my purse every time I leave the bar. I know, I sound like a drag. But I’m not, I promise.

But the problem is: I’m also a chancer. Outside of my job or other things that are important to me (like checking I have my ID for the next bar), I end up leaving a lot to chance. And by this I mean I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ll leave my house without double checking my straighteners are off, or I might just assume I’ve shut my hamster’s cage properly rather than going back upstairs and having a look. There’s no rationale, and there’s no telling when I’ll chance or check something. It’s about 50/50 every time I act.

With that in mind, let me set the scene. It’s 5pm on a Friday, I’ve finished my work for the day and I’m getting ready to set off home for the weekend.

I put Gunther (my hamster) in the back seat and strapped him in, ready to hit the M40. The first flaw was locking him in briefly while I ran back in for my bags.

Bags in the boot, ready to go. My car doors don’t lock automatically, but my boot does. Funnily enough, I even thought to myself as I shut the boot, “ha, I hope my keys aren’t in there.”

They were.

Now, I’m a new(ish) driver. I’ve had my little red Ford KA for just over four months and to date this’ll be my first incident with it. There’s no formula for me here yet, aside from locking the doors when I enter and exit the vehicle. And I sometimes even forget to do that.

Poor little Gunther was stuck in the backseat. Not a thought behind his eyes. The crack in the window was simply not big enough for a human-sized arm to slot down and unlock the door. The spare key was back in Birmingham.

If only I’d checked that my keys were in my pocket…

Long story short, chancing it saw me spend two and a half hours standing outside staring at my hamster through the window while I waited for the car locksmith. £150 down, I finally hit the road.

Anyway, I can hardly blame myself. Actually – I absolutely can blame myself. But I’ve learned a couple of things from the debacle:

1. Always CHECK your keys are outside of the car before you shut the boot.

2. There’s a right and wrong way to pack your car when live animals are involved.

3. Have your spare key in the same city as you.

In conclusion: don’t chance it, there’s a formula for almost everything in life. So subscribe to my blog if you want to know mine for all things creative, copywriting, and occasionally some random stuff – like how not to be a totally irresponsible pet owner.

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