Tuesday, September 27, 2005

On the Art of Locksmiths

Yesterday I managed to lock myself out of my flat, a fact which I discovered only upon arriving at work and realising that I didn´t have my keys on me. “No problem, ” I thought, as I wandered around the side to the delivery entrance to get in, “I´m staying in a guest house with an office across the road with SPARE KEYS.” I may have even followed that with a “Brilliant” or a snide “See, I´m not as dumb as they all think” followed by a mental finger flip, but I´m not sure.

So I spent a relaxed working day, chasing down accounts of prior art and conflicting patents, continuing in my desk-based illusion of Sherlock Holmsian investigative work and tempted only once to retort in a suitably superior voice to a colleague “Elementary my dear Watson” when asked how I had possibly found something out. Content in my knowledge that the evening would involve a relaxed stroll over to pick up the spare key before wandering back to my apartment and indulging in CSI:NY, I had an enjoyable lunch of roast lamb and vegetables without even a hint of indigestion.

Seven o´clock rolls around and I fulfil the first of my expectations, walking home to the tunes of Wir Sind Helden, highheels making offensively load echoes bounce off the neighbouring old folks home in time to the music. The office was open, within minutes I had the spare key and home I went.
Still singing under my breath and quietly impressed with my own cunningness in locking myself out in such a fortuitous manner, I inserted the key into the lock and tried to turn it.

It didn´t.

Bemused, I removed the key, looked at it from all sides, inserted again and gave it a stern twist in both directions, just to be sure. It didn´t budge. Cannily, I had left the keys in the lock on the other side.

This necessitated the employment of a locksmith, a somewhat elderly gentleman with a habit of muttering swear words under his breath in the general direction of any available door and a nifty little leather box containing the tools of his trade. When he failed entirely at getting a number of these pieces of coathanger through the doorjamb, he went back to the car to get the Master of All Locked Door Cracking Appliances. This piece of equipment was of such a highly technical standard that I am sure I can do it no real justice so I will attempt to describe it in only the poor vocabulary available to the uninitiated in locked door cracking. It was a straightened coathanger with a bit of string on the end. This he inserted under the door, attempting to manoeuvre the bit of string around my keys protruding from the inside lock. All to no avail, as something on the inside consistently caught the bit of string and pulled it off the straightened coathanger.

At about this point, my neighbour, a young Czech, stuck his head out the door to find out what all this muttered, and occasionally shouted, swearing was. Upon investigation of his flat, we discovered that it could in fact be possible to clamber from his balcony to mine, where the half open window would allow someone access into my flat. The Czech and I contemplated this for a few minutes, staring thoughtfully at the dividing wall and precarious ledge, but even more thoughtfully at the three story drop. So we did what any young, fit people would do in this situation and called the old guy in to climb around it.

So 50 Euros later, the old guy opens the door to my flat, slightly more disordered than before as his Master of All Locked Door Cracking Appliances had managed to pull each and every shoe I own off the shelf next to the door and into an untidy heap in the entrance way. But my flat was open and I was still in time for CSI:NY.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

I hope CSI: NY is better than CSI:Miami. Not a lot to watch in English here...