It was about 9 p.m. when I got home last night from the office, and the first thing I did was set down my keys and drop my laptop bag on my couch, and then the next thing I did was take out the garbage. The third thing I did, was realize, just as I was shutting my apartment door, that my keys were still on the table and that I was locking myself out. I had lived in New York for nearly a decade and this was the first time I had locked myself out of my apartment.
I allowed myself to panic for a minute, and then immediately went into problem-solving mode.
Did I have a spare pair of keys? Yes, they’re at my friends’ apartment just four blocks away from here. Are they home? No, they are not home, they are out of town this week. Okay, not a problem. Can you call the landlord? Yes, you can call the landlord, but the office is closed right now and you won’t know when he’s checking his messages. Call him anyway.
I called my landlord. His voicemail said that the office was closed, but that I could leave a message that he would try to answer as soon as possible. His voicemail also said that if I was experiencing an emergency, I could send him an email with “EMERGENCY” in the subject line. Thank god I had my phone with me. Thank god my phone had email.
After a half hour went by with no response, I sat in the stairwell and considered calling a locksmith. I looked at Yelp for price quotes, which ranged from $100 to $200. No thanks, I’ll wait here.
For another minute, I considered the window, and then the front door again. Could I break in? The answer was no, and I was glad that it was no.
I hadn’t eaten dinner yet and was starving, and my wallet was locked up safely in my apartment. The only form of electronic money I had was the Starbucks app on my phone, and I considered walking down the street to buy a muffin when I got a call from someone at the rental agency: Someone was on his way.
Forty minutes later, a nice man showed up and let me back in. I asked him if he wanted to look at my I.D. and he shook his head. You’re good, he said. Have a good night. I thought about that episode of Breaking Bad when Skyler was trying to break into Walt’s apartment and how much of a hard time the locksmith gave her because she didn’t have any proof of residency. Could it be that easy to get into my apartment?
I’m never forgetting my keys again.
Photo: Marc Falardeau