The Key>>

October 11, 2018

I don’t know why I’m writing about this. I guess I feel in a way I should if only because laying it all out in front of me might give me an idea as to what actually happened. In some ways I’m convinced it was ethereal, celestial even. And while it may have nothing to do with fishing, I want to believe it does. If only to make fishing more powerful and poetic than it already is. Even if all of that just sounds like the intro to a bad Ted talk.  


Recently I experienced a phenomena known as a synchronicity that has boggled my mind to the point of losing sleep over it. A synchronicity by definition is: the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. The two events being fishing, and the incredible appearance of a missing key.



Its labor day weekend. I’m home from college to go dove hunting in Kansas and the breaks on my truck have gone out. Before driving west with my family we drop my truck off at the local garage to have them fixed. The weekend goes great, we shoot a bunch of birds, help my parents move into their new house, enjoy a rare family dinner, and so forth.


When we return, my Mom drops me off to pick up my truck. The guys at the shop claim they placed the key under my drivers side seat, but it's nowhere to be found. In their defense my truck has, at times, been described using words and phrases like: “trash can”, “dirty”, and “an absolute mess”. For the key to be missing wasn’t all that odd, it probably just got swallowed up by the inordinate amount of trash under my seat. I'm forced to use the spare. 



It’s a Friday after a particularly long week of school. With no immediate tests looming, and relatively little homework to do I go fishing.


Now, fishing has solved a lot of problems for me over the years. Not directly of course, although I’m sure if I thought about it it has, but more psychologically. This particular stream especially has always been somewhat of a haven for me. Located just fifteen minutes from campus I’ve been there a lot, for more reasons than to simply catch something. Sometimes I go to fish a lot while the river and trout force me to forget everything else and focus on my craft, but sometimes I go to fish a little and think a lot, not really concerned with catching fish as much as simply being there.


This Friday I’m just there to fish, or as much as I’m ever “just fishing”. I decide to look for some bigger trout, although on this stream big is a fairly relative term. Let's call big over fourteen inches. I tie on a weighted zonker streamer and begin swinging it through each run, slicing it as close to the bank as I can. I catch five or six fish over four or five hours of fishing. One breaks my previous personal best for that stream, checking in at about fifteen and a half inches. It's a productive day, in the sense that I caught fish and enjoyed myself.


The hike back to the truck is slow. I take a couple breaks to appreciate the weather and snap a picture or two in the waning light. I arrive at my truck with roughly thirty minutes of daylight left. The parking lot is completely empty. I unlock my driver side door and toss my phone on the center seat. It takes about fifteen minutes to slip out of my waders, break my rod down, organize my flies, and toss all my gear haphazardly in the back.


“Damn, I brought a lot of crap for one afternoon of fishing” I say to myself. “Typical”


I button up the truck and hop in. I enjoy listening to music while I drive, particularly after some time on the water, so I grab my phone from the seat next to me with the intention of plugging it into my stereo. Resting perfectly flat against the dark grey seat, underneath my phone, is my missing truck key. I stare at it for an abnormally long time, look around a little, then lift it up to examine it mere inches from my eyes. I half expected my fingers to pass through it like some kind of hallucination or illusion, but they didn’t. It slid easily into the ignition and started the truck without fail.


Why is this so odd? I mean we’ve all experienced the sudden discovery of lost items. Well, to start the key was supposed to be underneath my drivers side seat. That location is about a foot and a half below where I found it. Gravity, and all other variables considered, an accidental move from where it should have been to where it was is functionally impossible. Furthermore, it was in the center of the middle seat, an area my phone can’t even sit without sliding off while driving down the curvy roads I’d just driven. A key would have flown off at the first switchback. It simply doesn’t make any sense.


I’ve yet to come up with a logical explanation for it, but here’s a couple illogical ones:


Number 1: While fishing, my truck was abducted by aliens where it was taken into space, a zero gravity environment, allowing the key to then float from the floorboards to its final resting place. Odd sure. Impossible? Statistically no.


Number 2: Again, while fishing, my truck was stolen. Incredibly the thief managed to not only break in, but also find the key I couldn’t. However, once he’d driven it for awhile and realized my gas gauge, air conditioning and heat didn’t work he decided to return it. Quite frankly I don’t blame him. 


Of course we’ll never know the true nature of what occurred that day. While it may seem small and insignificant I can’t help but feel there’s something more to it. Further proof that a day of fishing can fix damn near anything.


Update: This was a JOTT (just one of those things) characterized by overly mysterious disappearances and reappearances of everyday objects. 


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