Loss leader

After the recent loss of his passport, my beloved and I were reminiscing about the many things he’s lost. He asked me which was my favourite incidence? This was a difficult one, as there have been so many over the years. However, I have perfect recall of each and every single one. After pondering awhile, I decided that numero uno would have to be what I call “The Hell’s Angels”. Let me explain.

We were driving down to Austria for a summer holiday, stopping overnight in Wertheim, to the east of Frankfurt. On the Sunday morning, as we repacked the car and put the bikes back on the carrier anchored to the boot, I noted that my husband had left his car keys on the ground. Presumably to save himself from locking them in the boot. I advised him not to leave them on the ground as someone could drive over them. Little did I realise how prophetic this would turn out to be. At the same time, I also asked him to put my small black bag in the back of the car, not the boot.

After driving for about an hour, my beloved pulled into a service station to fill up the car. There was a restaurant adjacent to the garage,  outside of which were a large number of bike riders enjoying an early picnic lunch. Having filled up the car, he asked for his wallet which I advised was in my small black bag which he should have put in the back of the car. He had not, he had put it into the boot.

Off came the bikes, he opened the boot, found the black bag and his wallet. During all this kerfuffle, the driver at the pump behind us was having problems extracting his car, given everything we’d strewn around the back of our car. My husband released tha hand brake and rolled the car forward about 20 metres. He then went to pay and on his return, repacked the boot and secured the bikes once more on the carrier. He got into the driver’s seat and asked me for the car keys. I confirmed that he had NOT given me the keys. He checked his pockets:  no, not there. Thinking he’d perhaps put them down while paying, he went back to the till. No, they weren’t there either. He took the bikes off the carrier, opened the boot and proceeded to search in the boot. An operation which included taking everything out of the boot several times.

The group of bikers had grown and were greatly enjoying the enfolding drama. With my beloved having searched everywhere at least twice, I decided to get out of the car and help because, as we all know, men cannot find anything if it’s not directly under their nose. As I did so, I noted something glinting on the road about 50 metres ahead and to my left. I ran over and found the car keys. I retraced my steps and asked my beloved whether he wanted the good or the bad news. The good news was that I had found the keys, the bad news was that my beloved must have left them on the ground and the car behind us had driven over them and one of the keys was broken. Of course, you know what I’m going to say, don’t you? Yes, it was the ignition key.

My beloved had done exactly what I had advised him not to do just two hours earlier. We were stranded. My beloved rang the ADAC (German equivalent of AA) who promised to arrive shortly. It was a very warm afternoon and as we sweated it out in the car, I could barely contain my ill-humour. The bikers were still there no doubt having postponed their departure so as not to miss “what happened next”. After a 30 minute wait, the ADAC man arrived and, after we explained what had happened, said there was nothing he could do. I snapped and in my best German (I’m always more fluent in a foreign language when I’m annoyed) asked what would he do if he wanted to steal the car. “Oh that’s simple”, he said “I’d hot wire it”. Do it I snarled. So, he did and we set off once more towards Austria.

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