I think I now hold the record for the most keys held by someone not actually on the Maintenance staff down at Home Campus.
I’ve had five different offices during my time at Home Campus, and I’ve still got keys to three of them since as an adjunct you never know when you’re going to be asked to go back to one and give up the one you’re in. One of those three is my new office anyway, a key I just received today after working there for the last fortnight (the wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly when the powers that be keep laying people off and reassigning the ones they keep) and that one also comes with keys to the outer office door and to the room where all the records are kept, so that’s two more keys on top of everything else.
The only office I had on campus whose key I no longer possess is the one that no longer exists. It was a converted storage room down by the pedestrian tunnel between two different buildings – there was a big support pole right in the middle of it, in fact, which made seeing students a bit of a Tetris exercise – and it got swallowed up by the Great Renovation of 1999 and converted into a loading dock or some such. I still look fondly at the space sometimes as I walk by.
The other office whose key I no longer have was actually not on campus, so I never actually had a key to begin with. This is because it was only an office in the broadest possible sense. Thanks to the general level of respectability of the adjunct teaching experience I spent an entire year holding office hours at a local Denny’s. On the plus side, though, the waitresses got to know me and they would often bring me my tea and my slice of pie without me even having to ask.
I’ve also got an electronic fob that gets me into the main buildings on Home Campus, which I count as a key despite the fact that it’s a blobby grey bit of plastic rather than a shiny brass knobbly thing, and a general classroom key that will get me into most of the teaching spaces on campus as well as the mailroom and the copy room, which are kept locked these days because too many things kept walking away otherwise. I like the fact that the classroom key is labeled “BBC-1,” as it makes me feel rather posh every time I use it.
There’s also my mailbox key. It’s a squat little brownish thing that mainly exists to remind me that I should check my mail sometime, but I carry it around with me anyway so I’m going to count it.
I turned in my two keys for Not Quite So Far Away Campus in December, when I finished up my semester there (one office key, one main building key), but quickly replaced them with the equivalent keys for Mid-Range Campus this semester, which thus produced no net change in the number of keys. I’ll turn those keys in sometime in May, and then I’ll be down two. But for now, they’re mine.
In my Performing Arts role I have another entire ring of keys for the theater area. These allow me to get into the lighting booth, the costume shop, the dressing room, the scenery shop, and all the other areas that make it possible to put on a show, though my general classroom key will get me into the theater itself. It’s used as a classroom, after all. The theater keys I usually keep in a cup in whatever office I occupy and retrieve them on an as-needed basis, since otherwise there are simply too many keys to carry about all at once.
Honestly, it’s not like the TSA doesn’t know I’m at the airport from the moment I hit the parking garage as it is.
There have been other keys that I’ve owned from Home Campus and turned back in. Admin Building keys. Dean’s Office keys to another office that no longer exists. Things like that.
I’m not even counting my personal keys. House keys. Car keys. The key to my parents’ house, which I’ve had for so long that the locksmith’s phone number engraved on it starts with the prefix “MIdway 9…” I’ve got a forlorn little luggage key to a suitcase that I may or may not still own. I should probably take off sometime except that it’s the size of my fingernail and it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. And I’ve got a key to the locks on the rabbit hutch in the back yard that I have because the neighbor kids kept setting the rabbits free. I should also have a key for the lock on the barn where we keep the chickens, but I lent that one back to the friend who owns the barn so she could make copies and I don’t think she ever gave it back. I should ask about that, now that I think of it.
I have quite a lump of slag metal in my pocket, in other words.
Or maybe I’m just happy to see you.