About a month ago, I found myself in the unfortunate predicament of needing to break into a car with my husband.
I know, I know. At this point, you’re thinking we’re criminals and there’s no justifiable reason for what we did – but hear me out. In a moment you’ll see that we had no better option at the time.
The Curse of the Wii
After settling into a new life together, Michael and I developed a routine that involved playing video games together on a Saturday night. Thinking it might be interesting to play a few rounds of virtual tennis, bowling, or archery, I suggested we set up my Wii alongside the other five consoles in the apartment.
But like most hardcore gamers, Michael had zero interest in my poor little Wii – and so I left it at my parents’ apartment to gather dust.
A few weeks before the “break-in”, he had a sudden change of heart. He had just learned that the older Wii models – like the one I had – featured backwards compatibility with retro video games, so now he wanted it.
When we went by my parents’ place to help them move, he was so excited to get his hands on it, that while I was busy packing the stuff I had left there, he was poking around in the Wii. Excited to find the slot for the Nintendo games, he went out to the car to throw that baby in the trunk.
“What did I do with the keys?” I heard him say, right before the CLICK of the trunk closing.
He searched his pockets and even looked under the car, but we already knew what had happened. In his excitement to run off with my Wii, he had locked the car keys in the trunk – and to boot, on the day my parents needed us to help them move.
Not surprisingly, he panicked. We were about twenty minutes away from home and even then, he didn’t have a spare key for that car.
I watched him have a mental breakdown for a moment, then proceeded to provide my wifely duty of getting him to calm the hell down.
“I’m gonna have to break into the car,” he told me.
“What do you need?” I asked him.
I then ran inside to get metal hangers. When that didn’t work, I thought a little harder and got the hard plastic we used to close and open blinds. That didn’t work either.
By then, my Dad had arrived with the moving truck. He tried to help, but apparently my Dad’s no better at breaking into cars than we were.
Michael began to panic again. If we didn’t get those keys out of the trunk, he would have to pay a hundred dollars just to get into his own car.
“Go help Dad move,” I told him. “I’ll figure it out.”
He looked at me, uncertainly. He knew as well as I did that I had never broken into a car in my life. I was the goodie-two-shoes wife who forever frowns upon the stories of ruckus he caused with his friends as a teen. What would I know about breaking into his beloved Lexus? He didn’t say it, but I could see it in his eyes.
Even so, we had come to help my parents move – not steal video game consoles and break into cars – so he went to help my Dad, while I brainstormed.
After fifteen minutes had gone by, a light-bulb went off in my head.
I went foraging in the yard surrounding the apartment for pieces of wood and twigs and then gleefully ran back to Michael to share my idea. He looked doubtful – my Dad laughed.
“It could work,” I insisted. “I’m gonna go try it.”
I could almost feel them shaking their heads behind me, as I walked away. But sure enough, in about five minutes, I had flipped the open switch and set off the alarm in the complex. “Unfortunately”, the Lexus has anti-theft technology, which prevents the door from staying unlocked when opened in this way, so I didn’t get in.
Still, it was encouragement enough. The men came running. Ten minutes later, we had the car open. And after a bit more digging, finally found the key.
See? Didn’t I tell you we had a perfectly good reason? Here’s what we learned from this experience.
When Michael thinks back to that day, mostly what he thanks me for isn’t hunting for hangers or the idea to use wood. It’s for keeping him calm in a terrible situation.
It’s easy to give in to pressure when tragedy and chaos strikes, but the best favour you can do yourself and others is to remain calm.
Work as a Team
In Canoeing on my Honeymoon, I talked about the importance of teamwork, especially as adults, and especially in a marriage. Once again, in this scenario, without teamwork we would never have gotten into that car without paying maybe $100 out of pocket.
Of course, for the safety of Lexus-owners everywhere, I won’t say exactly how we got the door open. But suffice it to say, it needed all three of us to do it.
There are some crises in life that we can handle on our own, but know when you need help and don’t be afraid to ask for it. You also need to ensure you have a good team at the ready who has your back, and the skills to provide more than lip-service to get the job done.
Consider Alternative Solutions
It’s great to learn from other people’s successes and mistakes. However, sometimes we need to think for ourselves, and think outside the box in order to get faster results – or just results at all.
In this case, we tried the hanger for about an hour and it just didn’t work. The wood, on the other hand, got the job done in about ten minutes.
Don’t be scared to venture outside of the ordinary. Often times, this is where much better opportunities await you.
I hope we never have to break into another car again. It’s about time Michael got a spare key. But should we ever need to a second time – gods forbid – I know a calm state of mind, teamwork, and thinking outside the box is sure to save us $100 bucks.