Monday, January 31, 2005

Damn Locksmiths!

So, you know when you move into a new place? And you think “right, I’m going to do all the normal things like get keys copied and give them to friends because I live by myself and I certainly don’t want to lock myself out”? And then you don’t get around to that because you’ve only lived in your new place for two weeks? And then you do a very complicated key/cash/laundry juggle when you’re trying to go and do your laundry and you get outside and realize that you have your cash and your laundry, but not your keys?

No? Not familiar with that particular situation?

Well, let me tell you that it sucks. And not only does it suck , but it’s very expensive.

Imagine, if you will. Sicily. 1929.

No, wait. I mean, London. 2005. A girl, let’s call her Alice, is going to do her laundry. She gets out to the street, and realizes that she is the stupidest human being on the planet. She has locked her keys inside her flat. She is an idiot. She is also an idiot holding an Ikea bag full of laundry. She may as well take that to the laundrette.

So, once Alice pays the £3.50 to run the washing machine (it’s a double-loader, and that’s really quite reasonable), she goes to try and call a locksmith. This is when she realizes that in addition to her keys, her mobile phone is also sitting on her desk. She curses quietly to herself. It’s 9:30 on a Sunday morning. Only about two of the shops on her street are open. She decides that the coffee shop is a better bet than Sainsbury’s.

The kindly shopkeeper offers to let her use the phone. After several failed attempts to contact a locksmith open on a Sunday morning, she finally hits the jackpot. Alice, our resident idiot, has found a locksmith who has promised to be at her flat by 11:30. This is excellent news.

She thanks the kindly shopkeeper and returns to the laundrette. She figures that she may as well keep doing her laundry, so she transfers from washer to dryer and sits reading two year old Cosmo. Did you know that Casey Affleck is about to hit it big in Ocean’s 11?

Alice realizes that she doesn’t have watch. This isn’t really a big surprise,as she hasn’t worn a watch for over a year. She is used to having her phone with her, though. And her phone has the time conveniently displayed. She does not have her phone with her today. She is an idiot.

A random woman is startled by her request for the time and seems concerned that Alice going to mug her, but eventually tells her that it is almost 11:30. This is good. She goes to meet the locksmith. Alice worries that she is going to irritate her new neighbours by ringing random bells and asking to be let in. Fortunately, the kid who lives upstairs is very willing to leave the front door open for people he has never seen before. Alice decides to be worried about this lax security later. Now is not the time.

The locksmith, or Jack as he’s more commonly known, arrives. Alice thinks to herself “yay! I’m sure I’ll be in soon! And how much can it cost?” As previously mentioned, Alice is an idiot.

It turns out that Alice’s flat has a very, very good lock. And this means that it takes almost two hours to drill through it. This reassures her that thieves will not break into her flat at night while she is sleeping and murder her. Alice does not feel bad about mixing up murderers and thieves in her mind. She has other things to worry about.

Like the fact that it’s taking ages to open her door. But, finally, it is done. Two hours later. Conveniently, Jack has a new lock for her in his truck that perfectly matches her old lock. Unfortunately, it is chrome, rather than brass. He apologizes for this. Alice gives him a look that is intended to convey “are you kidding me?!?” and says chrome is just fine.

It takes almost an hour to put the new lock on. Alice drinks two cups of tea as she stands in her kitchen and watches this. It is very complicated. Alice begins to hate the makers of Yale locks. They are clearly sadistic bastards.

Jack finally puts the lock on. There is much rejoicing. And then Jack tells Alice how much this three hour odyssey will cost. There is much sadness. Alice is now broke. Fortunately, Jack is not a bastard like the makers of Yale locks. He only charges Alice two half-hour labour charges, rather than the six it took to actually complete the job. Alice is still broke.

This is a lesson to you all. Get your keys copied. Give copies to friends and/or family. Leave a copy in your desk at work. Make friends with your neighbours. Leave copies with them. Tape a copy to the front of your door. Do whatever it takes.

I paid the price for you all. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

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