To lock your car key in the boot once is unfortunate. To do it twice, on consecutive days, is just plain stupid. Or fate, depending on how you look at it.
The day after going over on my ankle I was meant to be doing a 12k trail run, part of the Keswick Mountain Festival. The run started at 4pm and I’d been trying to convince myself all day that I could still do it. Hobble, hobble, no I can’t. Limp, hobble, perhaps I can.
I was pondering the possibilities when I came back to the car with a bag of chips a couple of hours before the run. I was feeling, well, chippy. The rain had just stopped, my ankle had unstiffened enough to tackle the walk out of town, I zapped the electronic locking mechanism with my ray gun key. (I still get a buzz from seeing how far away from the car I can do it, and I still aim the key like I used to aim an imaginary finger gun when I was five.)
The lights flashed, the locks released. I opened the boot, chucked my bag and key inside, and pushed it shut again as I walked round to the driver’s door ready to sit down and enjoy my chips.
Now I’m an old-fashioned sort when it comes to cars. Anything mechanical, I used to be the man. I could whip an engine in and out of a Hillman Imp between breakfast and lunch. I could improvise a cooling system out of plastic bags and lederhosen. But electronics are another dimension. No one told me that a car once unlocked could lock itself again without you doing anything – apart from shutting the boot, that is.
Anyway, that took the decision for me. No running today, regardless of how my ankle was feeling. All I had access to was what I was standing up in: jeans, t-shirt, waterproof top, 60p and a bag of chips. It would take me the rest of the afternoon to get back into the car: ten minutes to eat the chips, ten minutes to find a garage, several hours to try every trick known to car mechanics to subvert the locking mechanism, and ten minutes to smash a window, extract my key and curse my carelessness.
The fact that, having never locked a key in the boot before in my life, I repeated this entire experience barely 24 hours later and missed another race as a result, must have been telling me something – either about my own stupidity or about fate, which clearly didn’t intend me to run on an injured ankle until I’d rested it for at least a couple of days.