The Second Day of Spring


Springtime in Belvidere.  On the first day of spring, the last of the snow finally melted away from the bottom of my driveway.  Yes, the last snow in the entire yard was behind my car.  The sun was out.  It was windy; it’s always windy in Belvidere.  The temperature was up near fifty degrees.  Outside, it smelled like fresh earth.  I could hear the song of birds returning and the screeching of the neighbor kid (I’ll be very glad when his voice finally changes; that near-ultrasonic peal echoing off the houses makes my teeth ache).

On the second day of spring, we had near whiteout conditions.  Daniel went out to brush the snow off my car so we could go to lunch together.  By the time he had made a compete circle around the car, the snow had covered the first window again.

I’m not surprised.  Chicago news radio advertises “weather on the eights” and – even ten minutes apart – the reports are rarely the same.  I’m not complaining.  In this area we take an almost masochistic pride in the way that Mother Natures screws with us.  No, my major problem with the weather is where I put my car keys.

I am a creature of habit.  My shoes are always by the door.  My wallet is beside me in bed, next to the clock radio.  When I type on my laptop (which is like every waking moment), my wedding band bangs against the keys.  It’s irritating so I take it off and place it on the push switch on my desk lamp.  I figure my consistent behavior frees up my mind from pedestrian concerns of where I left this or that and I can concentrate on far more intellectual pursuits… such as March Madness picks.

Car keys are the exception.  They follow a seasonal migration from pocket to pocket.  In the winter time, they reside in the right lower pocket of my goofy looking (but very warm) parka.  When spring arrives, they move to the pocket of my light leather jacket and then finally to my windbreaker before spending the summer hanging up on the key rack in the kitchen.  This would be fine except spring doesn’t exactly arrive, but rather comes and goes for a month a more.  It never fails.  I reach for my keys in my coat pocket and they’re not there.  In the fall that’s not a big deal.  It’s generally pleasant – sunny and cool.  Spring is the worst.  I will be standing in the driving rain or blowing snow, patting myself down for imaginary keys before stalking back into the house dripping wet to find them in the coat I’m not wearing.

My wife is generally supportive, but in the matter of car keys she has no sympathy.  She has no problem putting her keys down wherever: in her purse, in her coat pocket, on the kitchen table.  Of course, when she does lose them, she always has the fall back position of taking my keys instead.

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