Monday, August 20, 2012

The Key to My Heart

The soaring summer temperatures drew everyone outside, but the fast-rising mercury sent everyone scurrying just as fast for shade and air conditioning. Sweating with the rest of them, I was happily walking along minding my own business when I passed a white van. Its doors were open, surrounding buildings providing just enough shade for the men huddled inside. Hunched over in the confines of the small space, they picked their way around machinery and tools littering the van’s floor. My imagination started to hum but I didn’t stop to ask what they were doing because, as I said, I was minding my own business.

Now before you think I was kidnapped and hauled away by these men in a white van, calm down and read on....I lived to write this, didn’t I?

Just as I passed the van, the telltale high-pitched, scraping and grinding of a key being cut stopped me in my tracks. The sound was still fresh in my mind as I had only just had one cut a few days before at a hardware store. But a key being cut in a van?

Before my imagination got the better of me and I started thinking jewellery heist, I figured I better quell my concerns.

The kind man huddled in the van with his assistant at his side confirmed yes, he was cutting keys; his open, friendly demeanour told me this was legal. Part of me was disappointed as witnessing a heist would have made such a great story. We exchanged a few pleasantries, I thanked him for his time, apologized for bugging him (I have to do that lot in my line of work – I bug people), and went on my merry minding-my-own-business way.

As I walked away thinking how cool it was to see a mobile key cutter – sheesh, you’d think I had never met a locksmith before – I realized that although many things during these ever-changing, fast paced times are slowly becoming extinct (think payphones), one thing is still a constant – keys.

These little pieces of much-cherished metal we lose, use as a tool, use to scratch our ears with (ew), make copies of (sometimes illegally), and lock them somewhere we wished we hadn’t, are much needed and I wonder if they’ll ever become ‘old.’

So I couldn’t resist and had to persist and went back to chat-up the locksmiths. What a great story this was going to be!

Emerson, owner of Emerson’s Locks Ltd, regarded me sceptically, wondering why I took such an interest in what he was doing. I assured him and his assistant Steve I was no quack, but didn’t let on I secretly wished to witness a jewelry heist. They were most patient and answered my questions, all while still trying to work in the blistering heat.

As Emerson pointed out, keys will not likely become a thing of the past – they will always be needed. Even though electronic key fobs, pass cards and the like (never mind keypads with secret codes, OH! and fingerprint readers and voice readers and eyeball scanners and...) are common place in these heightened security times we are in, a master key will always be needed.

Emerson has been working in the locksmith trade for over 30 years, owning his business for the last six. He’s seen it all – fixed it all. With his key cutter in front of him, tools everywhere, and his spiffy van to haul it all, he’s got a pretty good gig going. The air-conditioning repair man was busy that day; business hopping a few months a year. But a locksmith keeps running year- round.

That hot day when I was bugging Emerson, all while he was trying to work in the heat, he had the key to my heart – patience for me and a story. Thank you, Emerson, for taking the time to talk to me, despite the heat and my thousands of questions (even though no jewellery heist).

Need a key? Lock jammed?
Call Emerson’s Locks Ltd
Victoria, BC
(250) 389-2966

No comments:

Post a Comment