I went to the door of my friend's home in New Orleans with the key I had picked up at her workplace. We had carefully planned that I could relax at her home until she got back from leading a workshop. We would then go out to dinner.
I took the key out of the "special key pocket" in my purse. It didn't work. I tried it one way and then another. I checked the number on the door to make sure I was at the correct house. I tried the key again. I went back to my car, grabbed some reading material and walked to the neighborhood café that my friend had recommended.
It was a nice walk there, and the café had lots of character. I ordered an herb tea and sat at a table with a woman who was working on her computer. Soon after a man sat down in the corner and played his guitar and sang. I read the local papers, along with some of the materials I had picked up at meetings that day.
It was a pleasant way to spend the hours from 5 - 7 pm, though it would also have been nice to be at my friend's home where I could have put my feet up and maybe even taken a nap.
I met her back at her home just as she pulled up. I gave her the key and she was puzzled. It didn't work for her either. Then she asked me if there had been a white tag attached to the key. I said I didn't think so. She was sure she had tested the key.
Then a light turned on in my mind, and I went to the "special key pocket" in my purse. In the bottom of the pocket was a key just like the one in her hand, except it had a white tag.
Before I left home, rather than bring my full set of keys with me to New Orleans, I had grabbed a single house key. It had the same yellow plastic and a similar ring without the white tag. I had been trying to open her door with my house key.
In my tired state, it hadn't occurred to me to dig deeper into my purse. I assumed that my friend had either given me the wrong key or there was some special technique to opening her door.
Earlier in the day I had an appointment with a dermatologist. As I sat in the café and thought about the appointment, I realized that I had unanswered questions. If only I had taken a breath and asked myself, "do I have the information that I need to make a good decision?" Now I will need to take some extra steps to get my questions answered.
In both situations, I realize that if I had asked a few more questions, dug a bit deeper, I could have saved myself and the others involved not only time but reduced our stress as well.