I’d never heard of a lock nut key until a few weeks ago when I was in County Mayo, Ireland. I inadvertently drove my rental car over a large tuft of grass, which sat in the middle of a country lane. Unbeknownst to me there was a large stone, most probably knocked from a stone wall by a farmer’s tractor, lurking under the seemingly innocent ball of grass. Bam! Shredded front tire.
I immediately rolled the car to the side of the road and wondered what I’d do next. I didn’t think my Florida American Automobile Association card would work here. Luckily, a farmer came along who gave me a lift home. Long story short, a tow truck came the next morning and took the car to a local garage for the tire repair. But, like all good mystery stories the saga didn’t end there.
No! The rental car did not have a lock nut key so the garage wasn’t immediately able to repair the tire until they contacted another garage that had a master set of lock nut keys. It pays to have friends in rival businesses.
Finally, a happy ending. I had my car back in time to go for a coffee with my kind cousin who picked me up and took me to the garage when the car was mended. But all of this excitement came at a time during my trip when I’d just learned of issues at home. My mom fell and broke her hip; my partner came down with covid and suffered a fall which ended in a trip to the emergency room. And, here was I thinking I needed to abandon my trip and return home wehn the lock nut key incident occurred.
When you are a mystery author, everything means something. Take the lock nut key, for instance. Without it and the quick thinking of the garage crew, I might have been stuck for days without a rental car to get around. By the way, every lock nut key has a unique pattern which is meant to provide security to the vehicle owner. So, what did this incident mean to me? I had to take a deep breath. I had to stay in place. I couldn’t just respond to the emergencies at home. I had to trust that family members and friends on this side of the Atlantic would handle the situations. I had to let go. I had to practice some discernment and know that I cannot do it all.
So, in the end, a grass covered stone and the lock nut key might just have taught me to live in the moment. And, oh, one other lesson: always check your rental car for the lock nut key.
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