Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Weekend Update: Keyless Entry
I come home from work and Larry tells me that Shirley is coming over for drinks. I'm irked, not because of Shirley, but because I had planned on watching Keeping Up Appearances on channel 13.
Shirley arrived and we had drinks on the deck. Now that we have a table and chairs out there, it's far too easy to find excuses to drink.
At 8:30, Shirley left and we cleaned up the deck, then headed back to our disconnected bedroom on the third floor, by way of the common hall and staircase. We still don't have a staircase connecting the two apartments.
We also brought up the rest of the Heineken and drank it. When that ran out, we found ourselves drinking Corona.
And I must say, if you drink a Heineken and Corona back to back, you will instantly discover that the Corona is unfit for drinking. Monkey piss, as Larry calls it.
At 10:30, Larry said he needed to go out and buy some cigarettes. I stayed in the apartment and watched TV, scrolling through the menu to find out that Keeping Up Appearances wasn't even on tonight.
The buzzer rang, and I assumed Larry had forgotten his keys. I picked up the phone, pressed 6 to let him in, and then put the receiver down.
The buzzer rang again. Not fast enough? Too much beer? I pressed 6 again.
The buzzer rang a third time, so I picked up the receiver and spoke into it.
"Bring the keys for 2 and come down here," said Larry.
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I got down to the lobby and saw that Larry had been eyeing a desk that someone had left out for the trash. I had seen this earlier and assumed it was particle board garbage, but as Larry found out, it was solid wood and there was nothing wrong with it, as is the case with NYC garbage. It was just "old" by their standards.
Larry's plan was to cut this apart and use it as shelving in the 3rd floor bedroom closet. Together, we hoisted the heavy son of a bitch up into the elevator and pressed 2, so we could store it in the empty apartment until we were ready to install it.
I got to the door first and suddenly realized that I couldn't get in.
"What is it, Chris?"
"I...don't know. The door won't open." I had the right keys, but for some reason the knob wouldn't turn.
Larry came over and realized what happened. See if you can follow this.
On the upper level, we use the lower lock. You put your key in, and turn it, which pops open the lock. There is also a button on the side that you can press to keep it unlocked. This is for when you need to run out to the compactor down the hall and don't have your keys handy.
On the lower level, we use the top deadbolt, with the bottom lock left unlocked.
So, in closing up after drinks with Shirley on the lower level, I must have pressed the side button (as I do upstairs) and locked the lower knob.
We soon discovered that we had NO key for the lower lock. No one ever told us, not the seller nor the real estate agent. Instantly I knew we were fucked, especially because the super was away for the weekend. Larry went upstairs and came down with another set of keys which proved useless. One of the keys did go in, but refused to turn, no matter which way I jiggled the fucker.
It was now 11:00 and the two of us were sweating in the hot 2nd floor hallway with a massive, heavy piece of furniture looming over us.
I will omit Larry's furious expletives aimed in my direction, but suffice it to say, I'm unfit for living. We had to bring the desk up to the 3rd floor apartment, which barely has room for the furniture that's already there.
(insert additional string of expletives from Larry here)
Larry decided to crawl out onto the fire escape and try getting in through the downstairs window, forgetting that the windows have bars, a once-praised safety feature, now despised.
"Try the door!" I offered, waiting a few seconds before yelling, "Did it work?"
We don't have a key for that either. The only key is on the inside of that impenetrable door. Fort Knoxx, eat your fucking heart out.
Larry climbed back up the fire escape and into the apartment. (God only knows what the neighbors saw that night.)
(additional expletives from Larry go here)
Feeling stupid, I sat down and decided to ignore Larry, preferring instead to watch television, as if the door might somehow unlock itself, given enough time. I had my arms folded tightly across my chest, grinding my teeth.
"What are YOU going to DO about THIS?" asked Larry, as if this were somehow my fault. I stubbornly refused to blame myself for this. Yes, I locked the door, but it's more satisfying to transfer the blame to the seller, the real estate agent, the coop board, the superintendent, even the superintendent's dog.
"GO GET A LOCKSMITH," he commanded.
Larry estimated that this would cost us both at least $600 dollars. And if you added up the available cash we had in both our wallets, the total was 597 less than that.
I logged onto the Internet and did a quick and angry search for "Locksmith, Chelsea." I called the first one that came up and explained the situation.
"Where do you live?" he asked. Like an idiot, I gave him the intersection.
"No, what is the building address?"
Larry is right. I am an fucking idiot.
"Ask them if they take credit cards!" yelled Larry from across the room.
"Someone will be there in 15 to 20 minutes," said the gruff voice on the other end of the line. "Wait outside the building." I was shocked that they'd be here so soon. Why didn't this work out for me the last time I got locked out?
I grabbed my cellphone and called my mother. I made sure to tell her my side of the story and didn't care that Larry could easily hear me behind the closed bathroom door, where I was currently hiding.
I came out of the bathroom and looked at Larry.
"Someday, we'll look back and laugh at this," he said. This is how I knew he was less mad than he was 20 minutes ago.
I sat outside with Larry while he smoked a cigarette. We watched people pass by on the street. How I'd give anything to be that old man walking his dog right now. Or even to be the dog.
"There he is," said eagle-eyed Larry, spotting the man parking his truck across the busy street. Out stepped a thin man carrying two bags. I worried that he would have to drill the lock, waking up all the neighbors and pissing off that member of the coop board who lives across the hall, although it was a Friday night. He probably wasn't even home.
The man was all business as we escorted him to the apartment door. Within minutes, he had removed the lock and opened the door. He then replaced the lock, though this took a bit longer. I sighed with relief when he handed us the new keys.
In the end, it only cost us 150 dollars (on Larry's credit card) but gave us a third story about getting locked out. In less than one fucking year.
Are we laughing about this yet?
Previously in Idiots Who Lock Themselves Out:
Shoulda Ordered In
The Longest Day Ever