Blog 38: The Key goes for a walk down the Drive

Sometimes during the course of a campaign, you find yourself doing something that seems completely normal and rational to you, but is distinctly odd outside the campaign central bubble. Case in point: Thursday, I had to bring the special Key to the Co-op home with me so I could take it to Burnaby first thing Friday morning to be presented to the Metro Vancouver Board. Now, I’m used to taking the key all over the place, but it’s usually by car. This day, I had to walk from the CHF BC offices at First Avenue down Commercial Drive to the SkyTrain station at Broadway. It hadn’t occurred to me that most people are unused to the site of a large, gold-coloured key with an engraved plaque on it being carried down the street. As I passed coffee shops, delis and diners, I was met with a constant chorus of the same question: “Hey, man! Is that the key to the city?”

It was always guys who asked this question and by their tone most of them thought themselves rather witty, so after a while I began answering: “No, it’s the key to the co-op.” This was met by puzzled stares. The only relief from the monotony was when I passed a group of young canvassers outside JJ Bean's. There were three women and one man. And of course, it was the guy who had to say something. He pointed at one of his fellow canvassers and quipped: “Look -- it’s the key to her heart!”

“I hate to disappoint you, but it really is just the key to the co-op,” I said.

I was followed down the street by a burst of laughter mixed with disdain (I’m hoping the disdain was for the lame quip by the canvasser and not my standard reply). I had had just about enough and was wondering how many times I’d endure the same question while standing on the always-crowded SkyTrain station platform. Just as I reached the top of the escalator, someone behind me called out -- of course, it was a guy (in a baseball cap).

“Hey -- is that the key to the biggest room in the world?”

I slowed down to let him catch up. Okay, this is different...

“No, it’s the key to the co-op -- what’s the biggest room in the world?” I asked.

The man in the baseball cap smiled.

“Why, the Room for Improvement,” he laughed.

Well, full marks for originality. I smiled back at him.

“I think this key would be a bit too small,” I said.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful. But at least I had a grin on my face. Yes, there’s always room for improvement. That, obviously, is the key lesson of the day...