Posted by September Blue Thursday, 17 July 2008

Get home from work at quarter past ten, tired and bad-tempered and annoyed with the boss who wants eight weeks of work done in two. Slump up the road, down the other road, up to the door and place key in lock. Turn key.


Key turns half-way and no further. Hmm. Try jiggling it round in lock, plus various combinations of pushing door forward/pulling door back while turning, without success. Hmm.

Take key out of lock. Examine key. Examine other keys on ring. Try all of those, just in case. Step back and inspect building door is attached to, just in case. Establish beyond doubt that key and door belong together. Lick finger, run along edges of key, place key in lock, turn.


All right, this is not funny.

It looks like someone has clicked the snib on the lock from the inside, thus preventing anyone from getting in without help from someone on the other side of the door. Consider this. Decide neighbours couldn't possibly be that stupid, and that failure of door to open is merely illusion of own tired mind. Place key in lock. Turn key.


Third Law of Shared Buildings: one of your neighbours is always that stupid.

Try pressing buzzers of neighbours' flats with dim hope that anyone will answer - buzzers rung after ten at night in this building tend to be rung by crazy shrieking banshee friend of one of the neighbours, who should not be encouraged. Indeed, buzzers go unanswered. Consider the idea that one of those buzzers must to person who put snib on lock in the first place. Wonder if they are the same person who allows crazy shrieking banshee friend to wake everyone up at 4am. Fume in ineffective silence.

Consider options.

Friends a few doors down have big shared garden, separated from my building's small shared mudpatch and mattress graveyard by two walls and whatever lies in between them. If walls climbable and mysterious area navigable, could get into back of building and bypass need for security door. Call friends.

Phones go straight to voicemail.

Curse world.

Consider other options. At the back of mudpatch/mattress graveyard there are the back walls of two grand-looking houses. There might be some space there, or at least some way to climb through from the other side. Head off to investigate.

Access to houses behind locked gates in big wall. Only way in without key is to Spiderman it forty feet up along very narrow top of mostly-medieval wall until a point where the ground comes up to meet it on the side where the houses are. Consider that a) wall was designed to repel invaders, b) climbing along wall means climbing past small clusters of teenagers smoking outside pub, several of whom I will probably end up teaching next semester if I end up falling off a wall in front of them because the universe would not pass up a joke that good, and c) climbing on important mostly-medieval things possibly punishable by death at hands of tourist board. Decide to call this plan B.

Return to own door, just in case. Try key in lock again. Just in case.


Wish death upon neighbours.

Notice lights still on in empty-looking restaurant below flat. Go in, find head waiter clearing tables. Explain situation.

Head waiter looks sceptical. "Why you not have key?"

Show keys to waiter. Explain ineffectiveness of key at its usual task. Waiter produces own keys, heads outside to door, places key in lock...


Waiter grumbles. "Your neighbours, so much trouble. Always they come in asking to be let in here. Always they shout. Sometimes they bang door. So much trouble."

Agree, fervently. Commiserate. Share with waiter latest exploits of crazy shrieking banshee friend of neighbours. Realise am still standing outside on pavement.

Waiter promises to find other waiter who will go through kitchen and attempt door from other side. Disappears back into restaurant, reappears several minutes later looking determined. Waits with me until footsteps are heard on other side of door. Smiles.

On other side of door, mysterious unseen waiter pulls at handle, then attempts to turn lock.


Turn to head waiter. Raise arms, eyebrows. Head waiter leans into door and shouts to other waiter in langauge I do not speak. Other waiter shouts back. More rattling. Head waiter shouts some more. Other waiter conquers lock.

Clunk. Door opens.

"They had turned snib on door!", head waiter says. "Who would do stupid thing like this? You should leave them note."

Oh, I will. Believe me.

1 Responses to Click

  1. Autumn Song Says:
  2. Eeeeek. Thank goodess for the waiters!