An Escapologist's Diary. Part 2.

A trivial thought occurs. When I leave Glasgow in a few weeks, I will have no keys.

I’ll surrender my house keys to the letting agent and return my drinking club key to the proprietor. All I’ll have left is a pocketful of fluff.

No keys! No security. No commitments. Nothing worth locking up.

At present, my keyring is one of a pair of talismen that is never more than a couple of feet away. A harmless ritual, I absently tap my pockets every now and again to check that wallet and keys are still with me. A ritual soon to be unhinged.

The absence of keys from my pocket is a testament to my giving it all up: to walking away from normal things. The keys go out and a little bit of madness comes in.

I have a spare set of keys in my office drawer, one that the letting agent doesn’t know about. As a symbolic gesture, I might overarm these into Clyde on my way out of town.

A colleague agrees that having no keys would be weird. Since we were about thirteen years old, we have both carried sets of keys every single day, like a couple of jailers. Although he is not of my escapologist bent, he agrees that having no keys is a symbol of liberation.

“I wish I could do what you do and walk away from everything,” he says, humouring my ideas. Last week I would have told him that only bad faith keeps him at his desk but since then he has bought a house next to a petrol station in Bearsden. Now he has a twenty-seven-year mortgage and another set of keys.

How many keys do you have?

About

Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at www.wringham.co.uk/about.

2 Responses to “An Escapologist's Diary. Part 2.”

  1. Dominic Brown says:

    I had the same realization the day I left Winnipeg for Vancouver, in 1991. I held up an empty keychain, and told my friends, ‘Today I am a free man!’

    True, I have acquired keys again since, but never more than a couple at a time, and that moment has stayed in my memory as a warning: every key represents a lock, every lock a feared loss, every fear a neurotic attachment.

    I look forward to the day when I can again walk around with not one key in my pocket.

  2. Rob says:

    Precisely the symbolic sentiment I had in mind.

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