Thursday 14 November 2013

Separating the keys

Having weathered many different near-disasters related to business travel over the past twenty years, but having had a pretty smooth ride for the past six, I’m now alarmed to find myself suddenly struck with attacks of absent-mindedness that come close to unshipping otherwise meticulously planned outings.

A couple of weeks ago I forgot my tickets – a first in 12 years of regularly travelling to and from London. At the time I saw it as an annoyance, but also a useful nudge to take extra care on my forthcoming trip to Istanbul. No tickets, no trip!

So instead of forgetting something vital, I did the reverse and took with me something it was vital I left behind. The car keys. Both sets plus one door key.

First thought: I must be sure and keep these safe, mustn’t lose them in Turkey. Well, no, that’s not quite accurate. First thought ‘Aaaaagh!’ but next thought was all about keeping them safe.

Second thought: I can’t take these with me. G will be a week without a car and it’s not as though we live in striking distance of any shops.

Third...: I’ll leave them at the Airport Info desk and ring home. There won’t be anyone up but I’ll leave a message saying what I’ve done and what I plan to do when the Info desk place opens. Did that.

Then I thought about the airport taxi firm that had brought me here. What if they had a fare heading our way? If they went back to town they could take the keys to within 30 mins of home. My reasoning at this point was that Son was there with his car and heading off to a different airport later in the day. He could easily pick up the keys from somewhere in town or, less easily, take a detour to my airport. Thus leaving G without a car for only a long as it took him to make the round trip.

Went to the taxi office, failed to recognise the driver I’d been chatting with for an hour on the journey in as he’d put on a pair of specs. He listened to the tale, took the keys, and promised to phone G or Son as soon as he knew if he had a fare ‘back across the bridge’ which would be after the 10 am flight.

Left messages to this effect on mobile phones by voicemail, email and text. Ended up feeling very annoyed with myself but satisfied that I’d done enough to retrieve the situation.

Not so. What I hadn’t remembered was that the car I had the keys for was blocking Son's car and there was no way to leapfrog the one over the other, thus no way to get to the other airport never mind do a round trip to collect the keys. Son reached the point of researching hot-wiring on the internet thinking in terms of damage amounting to one smashed window if he could find a way to start the car. Given the layout of drive/lane, it wouldn’t even have been possible to have pushed it out of the way because of the steering lock.

Anyway, he rang the taxi firm and got them to take the keys all the way back; just in time for the second flight not to be missed. I got to Istanbul despite an incoming storm and learnt the differences between a taxi and a taksi.  

The longer reaching consequences are that the keys are now kept separately, and I am subject to airport-style security when I leave the house.

(Istanbul blog 7 of 9) << previous : –: next >>


  1. Ho ho ho! Sort of fear I hold, trying to do too many things at once and finding one domino has sent many crashing flat - er, like forgetting my password for Google - doh!