Keys for Locking Things and Keeping Safe

Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2015

COME ON, admit it.  The majority of us have a container, a bowl or tray, on a side table where we toss things.  Car keys, door keys, hats, toys, cards, pens, books, name tag, USB, junk mail, countless small items like Lego, and possibly your dog’s lead.  They all get thrown, tossed, dropped into this repository, usually near an entry door.  Next time you watch a domestic drama series, check how many times the house keys are tossed aside while the actor says ‘I’m home.’

THIS CASUAL receptacle is handy for coming home tired, but hopeless when you are in a hurry in the morning.  I have discovered that annoyed pitching never works and requires the effort of fishing the item up off the floor and trying again.

OF COURSE, we are cautioned by Neighbourhood Watch not to use this careless form of storage because thieves can take your car keys on their way out with your Edwardian silverware.  

DIFFICULT to disguise a set of car keys—good on you if you have keyless entry—but I hang unmarked keys in separate locations.  At least that way the burglar has to scurry around trying to find the right set of hooks holding the right key to your vault or whatever. Naturally a door key may not be necessary if the entry point is used to exit.

THANKFULLY on the night my domestic dwelling was genuinely plundered, I was out, so my car was not there to ‘borrow’.  I went to live theatre for the first time in years; you can read my anguish on a past blog post Stolen Jewellery Anger and Sorrow.

THE AVERAGE household uses only one or two different keys and bowl storage works out pretty well until someone wants an unused key necessary to unlock a side window in the spare bedroom.  The relevant key is finally located from a neglected bundle at the bottom of a woven tray on the kitchen sideboard.  It has been transferred to another storage facility, i.e. drawer. We humans know how to waste time searching for small things.

KEYS offer something primitive and satisfying about locking a door.  It is real, it makes a solid locking noise and creates a tangible barrier between you and the world.  For me, a beep doesn’t cut it.  Do you hear an electronic click when you issue a ‘lock door’ command?  Do you hear a thunk like a garage door closing when you tap a screen?  I guess the modern manufacturer is well versed in consumer psychology and pre-programs various locking noises.  Kind of like phone ring tones but different.

“I hope I could get an electronic sound like a warden pushing an ancient castle door closed, one which grinds and crunches as it shuts tight against rampaging possums” 

GBW 2021

A LOT can be said about smart key entry, finger print identity, voice commands, internet-based security, eye recognition, tomographic motion detection, etc, but since I don’t know how most of that technology works, I am sticking with my metal keys.  Of course, the family has keys so I check to see they have ‘properly’ locked the door at night—blame scary movies.

DOMESTIC security is important… millions of people don’t have a door to lock… or a home…

St Vincent de Paul

Vinnies Winter Appeal 2021

Over two million people live below the poverty line in Australia, including over half a million children.  This winter Vinnies Appeal will provide emergency relief to families at risk and experiencing homelessness.


Please visit ‘The Lighthouse’ poet Tom Alexander and read his introspective poem on keys

Gretchen Bernet-Ward