"I'm pretty sure we can find them," he said, before withdrawing his now burgundy face.
"Okay, Joey," I said with despair. "I'll have a White Elephant." Joey held his finger to his ear and, addressing his cufflink, said, "White Elephant for Barbarella." I had the cocktail in my hands a few minutes later and sipped to quiet the voices in my head. The first voice was mine: Every key I have is on that chain . What a fucking hassle. How are we going to get into the house? Bright idea, Barb, leaving all the keys on the same chain. You've got Dad's keys on there too. Shitshitshitshit! The second voice was my father's: Would you rather lose your keys or find out you have cancer? It's not the end of the world. Worse things could happen. You are not measured by the circumstances of your life, you are measured by how you react to them. My voice piped back in and it sounded stubborn and pouty: Why does it have to be cancer or keys? This is horrible. I'm going to scream. No, I'm going to cry. God, how embarrassing if I start crying right here on the street. Fuckfuckfuckfuck! Breathe. They're not gone, they can't be gone, so breathe. Man, this sucks ass.
"Hey! Look at that!" David's face lit up and I followed his gaze toward the street to see my car in the midst of a three-point-turn. I felt like jumping up and kissing everybody the way I had when I learned that I couldn't get rabies from a squirrel bite.
The embarrassed senior valet ran toward me as I was getting in my car. "I knew they were in another car!" he said, his face returning to a more natural shade of tan. "Please, at least let me give you back your money."
"Oh, right, thanks!" I chimed. "I'm just happy to have my keys. Thanks so much!"
"You handled that so well," Ellen said on the way home. "I would have totally freaked out." It was hard to hear her over the hysterical voice in my head: What if someone had driven off with my keys in their car? What if they found my keys a week later and couldn't figure out where they came from? I would never have gotten them back! And there's that little silver heart I got in New York on there...and the last piece of that copper fish Dad gave me when I was 13.... What if it was gone forever?
"Thank you," I said to Ellen with equanimity. "In situations like these, it's important for one to realize that something as simple as a set of keys is really minor in the grand scheme of things."