Thursday, 20 October 2011

The key to the road

My very own, rather battered RAC key
This is the story of an iconic object that has become a useless part of a bygone age.

I was driving #1 daughter back from her shift in the pub kitchen the other night (if you've got children, it's only fair that they get sent out to work) and we passed a car pulled up on the verge. The owner was beside it, talking expansively into his mobile phone.

'What,' she said, as if speaking of ancient history, 'did people used to do when they broke down before they had mobile phones?'

I was able to explain that once upon time there were phone boxes scattered by the roadside in out of the way places, boxes that could only be entered by those who carried the special keys issued by the AA and the RAC. That's how you would ring for rescue. A bit like a Dr Who police box, but for drivers. I'm not sure if she believed me.

I don't know why, but I cherish my RAC key. It roots me in a different time. Don't get me wrong, I prefer having my iPhone. The key is useless for almost everything I use the iPhone for every day. But it still feels special.

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